Students at Buckman Elementary School in Southeast Portland have taken traffic safety into their own hands.
Carrying signs that read “Students are Crossing”, the third and fourth-graders have held several awareness actions to draw attention to the unmarked intersection of East Burnside and 16th Avenue; a high-speed intersection that is just four blocks from their school.
Working with the City of Portland’s Safer Routes to Schools program, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) helped kids with a safety campaign to get people in cars to lower their speeds and stop for pedestrians.
(Photo: Stephanie Noll/BTA
The BTA’s Stephanie Noll helped lead the effort. “We let the kids come up with slogans and they voted for this one. It’s been a great project.” Noll says the kids worked on the campaign in their “Make a Difference” afterschool program.
After a recent sign-holding session, Noll led a group of students and parents into local businesses and encouraged them to place the “Students are Crossing” signs in their storefront windows.
How did business owners respond to these young activists?
“Every business we visited obliged and thanked the Buckman students for their work to make the neighborhood safer.”
Surveys have shown that intersection safety and traffic speed are top concerns for parents in making decisions about school travel options.
On December 6, PDOT and the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division collaborated on a Crosswalk Enforcement Action at the intersection.
According to PDOT’s pedestrian safety expert Sharon White, from 1:30 to 3:00 pm officers handed out 35 citations and three warnings.
To make the crossing safer, The City of Portland has secured funding for a crossing improvement on East Burnside, but a Water Bureau project slated for the same area is holding things up and it’s not expected to be installed for at least 1-2 years.