Watch out! Chicken Safety Brigade coming through!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Winter break has come and gone ? and we’re getting settled back into our routines. Kids are back in school, and now is the perfect time to bring up some very important chickens. Bright and early on a winter’s morn, Madrona Elementary school parents and kids traded in their winter jackets for chicken suits. Yes, that’s right, chicken suits.

So why exactly did the chicken cross the road?

To get to school safely, obvi.?

Drivers couldn’t help but slow down, as a pair of chickens and chickadees (and eventually, a lemur, because the more the merrier) crossed the street. Again and again. That’s not something commuters see every day. But what does happen every day on Seattle’s streets, including in school zones? Speeding and distracted driving – two of the top contributing factors in crashes.

Both parents and crossing guards are concerned about unsafe driving. So much so, that they reached out to us for a conversation on traffic safety, Safe Routes to School, and our Vision Zero goals. The result: a fun, positive, and educational chicken safety demonstration where we chatted with parents, kids, and passersby, and handed out bike and pedestrian lights.

We also got to meet some awesome crossing guards, who spend every morning and afternoon helping children cross safely (although, sans chicken suits).

Ms. Halima with a Madrona chicken parent.

Both crossing guards have deep ties to the neighborhood and we wanted to share some of their stories and perspectives, and thank them for looking out for our youngest travelers.  

Meet Ms. Halima:

Ms. Halima has 5 children of her own who all went to Madrona Elementary. Even though her children have grown up and moved on to other schools, she continues to come to the school as a crossing guard. In fact, she’s been doing so, on and off, since 2001! When we asked what her biggest safety concern was, it’s having to daily remind parents to slow down and stop.

 

Meet Mr. Gordon:

Check out this interview with Mr. Gordon. The Madrona community is his home; he even went to Madrona for Elementary school, which is the very school he is now a crossing guard at!

Mr. Gordon and Ms. Halima touch on issues that our Vision Zero initiative aims to address:

  • People driving too fast. People need to slow down, especially in school zones – speed is the critical factor in crashes, and 20% of fatal crashes involve speeding.
  • People driving distracted. Crashes involving distraction have increased nearly 200% since 2011.

These behaviors are happening throughout Seattle, right in front of schools, where children are put at risk just by crossing the street. But we can work together to raise awareness and reach Vision Zero.

If you’d like to request some bike/pedestrian lights or borrow a chicken suit, connect with Allison Schwartz, at allison.schwartz@seattle.gov.