Safe Routes to School
Posted by: Samantha on Mar 28, 2013
What issue did your Take Action project address?
Improving Safety of children traveling to and from school.
What was your Take Action Project? Who did you involve in your project?
In 2011, my partner and I approached the Public Works Department about our concerns with crosswalks, sidewalks, and speed limit signs on Middle Butcher and Grant Roads. As a result, a speed limit sign was added to on Grant Rd. where children walk to their school bus stop without sidewalks and there was previously no sign posted. We also worked with over 25 external organizations (including Ellington Youth Services, Public Schools, Resident Trooper's Office, Selectman's Office, Public Works, Volunteer Ambulance, UCONN's CT Transportation Institute, CT Department of Transportation, NERAC Earth Cycling Club, and Tolland Bicycle) to put on a bike safety fair for elementary students from Ellington and neighboring towns. After nine months of planning, and coordination with over 26 volunteers, the girls held Ellington's first "Fun on Wheels" bike fair on August 25, 2012.
What were the results? How did it affect the community?
The speed sign has been posted on Grant Rd., and has hopefully improved safety for children walking on that road. At the bike fair, Participating children received a free bike tune up from Tolland Bicycle and a free or reduce-priced helmet if needed. All but four children's bicycle tires needed additional inflation. Children participated in games including the helmet egg drop, red-light/green-light, and an interactive obstacle course with life-like props borrowed from UCONN's CT Transportation Institute. The obstacle course was so popular that many children (and several adults) rode through it repeatedly. Participants also learned Rules of the Road from experienced NERAC Earth Cyclists and a state trooper as well as basic first aid from a registered nurse and Ellington's Volunteer Ambulance personnel. Throughout the event, participants received lots of prizes and a backpack to decorate and carry home their goodies. Several news articles in local papers reported the success of the event, and Ellington Youth Services was pleased with the results of the fair and agreed to host it in future years.
What did you learn from the experience?
I learned how to go about working with town and local organizations to make changes in our community.