Sometimes the streets that should be safe for the whole family are unfortunately the most stressful.
Neighborhood Greenways are one example. Because they lack stop signs and are often adjacent to gridlocked arterials, they are increasingly saturated with cut-through drivers. And consider the streets in front of schools. Because too many people use cars — often with complete lack of respect for other road users — streets near schools can be a chaotic, dangerous mess two times every day.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is well aware of this problem. The lack of safety during pick-up and drop-off makes the city’s goal of encouraging more people to bike and walk to school much harder. That’s why the city is launching a new safety campaign aimed at taming this daily street snarl.
Under the new plan, PBOT’s Safe Routes to School team will work with the school community and principal to identify problem spots. Then they’ll find volunteers (a.k.a. “champions”) for the campaign. Using a series of new educational materials, city staff will empower moms, dads, and other caregivers to take an active role in policing their streets. School principals will help make sure the campaign fits with the school’s individual needs.
“The goal of the program is to work with schools and the school community to implement an education campaign to cut down on the most common pick-up and drop-off behaviors that are unsafe,” says PBOT Communications Director John Brady.
Volunteers will be encouraged to educated caregivers by having conversations with them and using a series of educational posters that explain Oregon laws. PBOT will also supply a “parking enforcement tally sheet” to keep track of illegal behaviors and track progress.
PBOT says the campaign will launch at Buckman School in southeast Portland next week.
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