Re-envisioning school streets: Creating more space for children and families
Author(s): Aszklar, K.; Lambert, D.; Pullen-Seufert, Nancy; Goodman, D.
Publisher: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
Publication Date: Dec-2020
Address: Chapel Hill, NC
Abstract: For decades, communities worldwide and in the U.S. have been working to improve road safety around schools, especially for children. Children have unique safety needs, and there is a growing acknowledgement of and receptiveness to the idea that safety for kids should be the top priority when planning and designing streets around schools. Limiting or prohibiting motor vehicles on a street adjacent to a school creates an opportunity for walking and biking to be a safe, convenient option for school travel and makes space for children and families to socialize and play. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted typical travel behaviors and provided an opportunity for communities to consider a different way of doing things. For example, some cities are implementing “slow street” initiatives and rebalancing public space on streets to limit motorized vehicle traffic and better accommodate walkers and bicyclists. These changes better support physical distancing requirements in the short term and can help people establish new travel behaviors that may persist when “normal” activities resume. Similar initiatives on streets adjacent to schools and within school sites can prioritize space for children and families to walk, bike and play, and challenge long-held assumptions about school travel patterns and mode choice.