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SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL | 2021-2022 School Year Highlights!

New marked crosswalk next to Ballard High School. Photo: SDOT

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Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national movement to make it easier and safer to walk, bike, and roll to school. Our SRTS program is designed to improve safety near schools and encourage more kids to walk, bike, and roll. We recently published our annual report for 2021-2022 highlighting work as part of our 5-year action plan.

Graphic showing highlights from the Safe Routes to School program's work from September 2021 to August 2022. White icons and text are on a blue background highlighting a variety of efforts and benefits of the program.
Graphic with highlights of our Safe Routes to School program. Graphic: SDOT

The SRTS program also helps schools educate and encourage students to walk, bike, and roll to school.

From supporting education to providing gear for students, our SRTS program helped ensure students can safely and more easily get to and from school each day.

We completed a Racial Equity Analysis which found that 60% of students were deterred from walking, biking, or rolling to school during cold and wet weather. As part of the Mini Grant program, we awarded $4,000 to schools to provide free outdoor clothing to low-income students. This included rain jackets and winter coats to ensure kids stay warm and dry during their trips to and from school. By helping provide weather-appropriate clothing, we are helping promote kids from all backgrounds to have more choices in how they get to school.

A dozen students smile at the camera inside a gym, while holding a number of books. A colorful mural is behind them, along with a door and some posters.
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary students proudly showing off their new books supplied by SRTS.

In partnership with Seattle Public Schools (SPS), we help fund two programs to educate and encourage kids through hands-on learning and reading:

  • Let’s Go program
    • Let’s Go is a walking and biking safety program that offers safety curriculum through P.E. classes for every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade public school student, including students with disabilities.
    • Let’s Go will also open up to all 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the school district as part of Let’s Go Further, which is in its pilot phase.
  • Books
    • We purchased over 1,200 books from local, independent bookstores.
    • Third and 5th graders from four elementary schools were sent home with 3 books each.
    • These books focused on stories that promote walking, biking, and exploring your neighborhood to encourage kids to do the same.

We also funded Central Seattle Greenways to help parent leaders organize Bailey Gatzert Walking School Buses where about 25 children join one of three walking routes to get to Bailey Gatzert safely, on time, and have fun along the way. Read more in our recent blog post.

We’re working closely with SPS and their SRTS Program Coordinator!

Sara Colling is SPS’s Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator, whose role is funded by our SRTS program.

The three main goals of this role are:

  1. Offer consistent, central support removing barriers to walking and biking to school.
  2. Provide leadership and guidance to schools and their communities as they develop, test, and implement plans, building on successful models in Seattle and beyond.
  3. Identify initiatives and programs that have been successfully developed and deployed at other school districts.
A woman smiles at the camera. She is standing behind a table of informational handouts, inside a school building. Colorful floors, posters, and doors are behind her.
Sara Colling, the SPS Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator, at Dunlap Elementary’s curriculum night!

Sara has already done so much in developing a district-wide Safe Routes to School program and continues to work towards the SRTS 5-year action plan by serving as a connection between SPS, SDOT, and the community.

Thanks in part to the Levy to Move Seattle, we completed projects near 11 schools in the 2021-2022 school year to make it easier and safer for kids to get to class.

Our Racial Equity Analysis identified barriers that are preventing families from walking, biking, or rolling to school. During the 2021-2022 school year, we completed projects near 11 schools to help address these issues. The projects included a new walkway, trees, crosswalks, signage, lighting, and more.

This map includes more detail on the projects and locations:

A map of the locations of improvements to benefit travel to school throughout the city of Seattle. Blue dots mark where the improvements were completed, with brief descriptions to the right.
Map of completed projects and their corresponding schools. Graphic: SDOT
Photo of a sidewalk below a highway overpass, with a handrail in the foreground, and orange cones and barrels to the right.
New handrail under a State Route 99 overpass near Concord International Elementary School.

And remember, May is Bike to School Month! Visit the Seattle Public Schools walking and biking page to get support for walking and biking activities at your school.

To learn more, please visit our Safe Routes to School website. Thank you for your interest!