As the school year draws to a close, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s (SDOT) Safe Routes to School program is gearing up to make needed improvements at elementary schools across the city. Earlier this year during spring break, SDOT improved the walking route to TOPS K-8. This summer, walking routes will be improved at Dearborn Park, Highland Park, Hawthorne and Wedgewood Elementary schools.
Funding for the Safe Routes to School program comes through Bridging the Gap and through grants from both the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington State Department of Transportation. Over the first five years of the program 25 schools received needed improvements to highly traveled routes. Improvements at each location vary depending on need and cost.
2012 Specific improvements include:
- TOPS K-8, sidewalk repair on E Louisa & E Roanoke Streets
- Dearborn Park, new sidewalk on S Orcas Street
- Hawthorne, traffic calming on 42nd Avenue S
- Wedgwood, sidewalk buffer along NE 85th Street
- Highland Park, new curb bulbs and marked crosswalks in two locations
SDOT begins the program every year meeting with school staff, parents and neighborhood representatives to learn what the physical barriers are to walking and biking to school. SDOT takes these concerns and develop plan for each school based on funding available. Once school is out for summer vacation, work begins and improvements are completed before students head back to classes in the fall.