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Stewartville Safe Routes to School

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					       S T E WA R T V I L L E
  SAFE ROUTE S TO SCHOOL
WALKING AND BIC YCLING MAKES CHILDREN MORE A LERT,
          HEALTHY AND FUTURE LEADERS
                                   Stewartville Safe Routes to School

                                                      Table of Contents
STUDY BACKGROUND ............................................................................................ 2
  STUDY PURPOSE .......................................................................................................................................... 2
  SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL STUDY GOALS .......................................................................................... 3
  COMPONENTS OF SAFE ROUTE TO SCHOOL PROGRAM .............................................................. 3
  THE HISTORY OF SRTS PROGRAM ....................................................................................................... 4

ESTABLISHING A ONGOING SAFE ROUTE TO SCHOOL PROGRAM ............ 5
  STEWARTVILLE AT A GLANCE ............................................................................................................... 5
  TRAFFIC VOLUMES .................................................................................................................................... 6
  SUMMARY OF CRASHES NEAR STEWARTVILLE SCHOOLS 2004-2008 ....................................... 7
  STEWARTVILLE WALKING , TRAIL FACILITIES AND HAZARD ZONES ................................... 10
  PARENTS SURVEY AND CLASSROOMS TRAVEL TALLIES ............................................................ 13
  COMMUNITY INPUT ................................................................................................................................ 19
  SITE AUDIT AND FIELD OBSERVATION .......................................................................................... 19
  WALK AUDIT WORKSHOP ...................................................................................................................... 22

SAFE ROUTE TO SCHOOL STRATEGIES ............................................................ 25
  RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES .............................................................................................................. 26
  ENGINEERING STRATEGIES .................................................................................................................. 26
   IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF THE SCHOOL ..................................... 26
   THE SCHOOL SPEED ZONE .............................................................................................................. 27
   SCHOOL CROSSING OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL ZONE ..................................................................... 28
   COMPREHENSIVE MEASURES TO ADDRESS TRAFFIC CONGESTION AT SCHOOL
   ENTRANCES ............................................................................................................................................ 29
   SAFETY BEYOND THE SCHOOL ZONE ........................................................................................... 32
   SIDEWALK, CROSSWALK AND TRAIL GAPS ................................................................................... 32
   ON-STREET BICYCLE FACILITIES .................................................................................................. 35
   INTERSECTION SAFETY MEASURES .............................................................................................. 35
  ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIES ............................................................................................................... 40
  SITE OPERATION STRATEGIES ............................................................................................................ 41
  EDUCATION STRATEGIES ...................................................................................................................... 41
  ENCOURAGEMENT STRATEGIES ......................................................................................................... 42
  EVALUATION .............................................................................................................................................. 43


                                                                 APPENDICES

  APPENDIX A: FRAMEWORK FOR ESTABLISHING A SR2S PROGRAM ...................................... 44
  APPENDIX B: COMPLETED SITE AUDIT OF STEWARTVILLE ELEMENTARY AND
              MIDDLE SCHOOL ........................................................................................................ 48
  APPENDIX C: COMMENTS RECEIVED DURING COMMUNITY WORKSHOP .......................... 50
  APPENDIX D: BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD SUMMARY REPORT ............................................... 51
  APPENDIX E: STARTING A WALKING SCHOOL BUS ..................................................................... 57
  APPENDIX F: PARENT SURVEY FORM ............................................................................................... 59
  APPENDIX G: FEDERAL FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ...................................................................... 61



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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School

STUDY BACKGROUND
Through support provided by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP),
Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) has initiated a series of efforts in
Olmsted County to improve public health through the implementation of policies and
practices leading to healthier lifestyles through reduction in chronic diseases caused by
use or exposure to tobacco, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity. The SHIP program
was developed in response to a request by the Minnesota Legislature in 2007 to develop
a plan for statewide health promotion as a means to address the rising cost of health
care in the state. Work related to the implementation of SHIP began in Olmsted County
in July of 2009, with twelve evidence-based interventions chosen for implementation.
One of the targeted interventions was to create active school communities by promoting
and encouraging walking and biking to and from school and community recreation
facilities for children and their families in Olmsted County.

In 2010, OCPHS received funding through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work
(CPPW) program, which was part of the public health initiative in the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Three communities in Olmsted County, including
the City of Stewartville, were selected to be recipients of assistance to develop a Safe
Routes to School Plan. These cities were chosen due to the fact that they have grown
rapidly in the past decade and as a result of this growth the option of walking or biking to
school or community recreation facilities has been diminished.

STUDY PURPOSE

The goal of active living is to increase the amount of physical activity in the daily routines
of local residents through means such as walking or biking to school, the grocery store,
work or for other daily activities. The primary purpose of this study is to provide a set of
recommendation and strategies that will promote and encourage parents and children to
consider walking or biking to school as a viable option. The recommendations and
strategies in the study address such factors as roadway, intersection, and school site
improvements that will benefit students as well as improving the walking and bicycling
environment for local residents who want to use the facility for trips to work, to the store
or to nearby recreational facilities.

The major benefit of implementing a Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program is
increased safety for children walking or riding bicycles to and from school. A
comprehensive strategy based on a cooperative planning effort between school officials,
parents, residents, city officials, law enforcement and staff of other road agencies will
ensure that specific traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle improvements have the community
support needed to become priority projects eligible for State, Federal or other grant
funding. The involvement of various stakeholders throughout the Safe Routes process
increases the likelihood for implementation of needed safe routes improvements. The
safety benefits of Safe Routes program are extended to all users in the vicinity of
schools in addition to the students.

In addition to safety enhancements, a Safe Routes to School program helps integrate
physical activity into the everyday routine of school children and general public in the
community. Health concerns related to sedentary lifestyles have become the focus of
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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
statewide and national efforts to reduce health risks associated with being overweight or
obese. Identifying and improving routes for children to safely walk and bicycle to school
is also one of the most cost-effective means of reducing weekday morning and afternoon
traffic congestion in the vicinity of schools, and can help reduce the air pollution and
decrease traffic congestion in our communities.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL STUDY GOALS

The specific goals of the project as it relates to creating a Safe Routes to School plan
are:

      To increase the number of children walking or bicycling to and from school;
      To decrease the congestion created by automobiles around school sites during
       drop-off and pick-up times;
      To reduce traffic speed in school areas;
      To identify other necessary adjustments and improvements needed to existing
       school-related traffic management measures;
      To increase motorist awareness of child pedestrians and bicyclists around
       schools in order to reduce conflicts between vehicular and non-vehicular traffic;
      To increase community and parent awareness and support of SRTS-related
       programs;
      To reduce noise and air pollution caused by idling vehicles during peak drop-off
       and pick-up times.

COMPONENTS OF A SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL PROGRAM

Safe Route to School (SR2S) is a multi-disciplinary program aimed at promoting walking
and bicycling to school, and improving traffic safety around school areas through
education, incentives, law enforcement, and engineering measures. The benefits of a
SR2S program include improved safety and health, increased daily physical activity and
an improved environment around the school site. Safe Routes to School programs
typically involve partnerships among municipalities, school districts, community and
parent volunteers, and law enforcement agencies.

Safe Routes to School strategies and actions are often categorized in terms of the “Five
E’s” of Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering and Evaluation. Briefly,
these five elements, which are vital components of any SRTS program, include the
following considerations:

EDUCATION —Initiatives aimed at teaching students bicycle, pedestrian and traffic
safety skills, as well as educational campaigns aimed at drivers to remind them to safely
share the road space with other users.

ENCOURAGEMENT —Events such as walk-to-school days or contests such as Golden
Sneaker awards that are used to encourage more walking, bicycling, or carpooling
through fun and incentives.

ENFORCEMENT —The use of various techniques by law enforcement to ensure that
traffic laws are obeyed, such as traffic stings targeted at pedestrian safety violations or

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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
use of speed feedback trailers to monitor or inform motorists about their driving
behavior.

ENGINEERING —Improvements such as signing, striping, and construction
improvements along primary school commute routes.

EVALUATION — Collection of data from parents, school staff and children to permit the
evaluation of implemented strategies and feedback in order to identify ways to improve
SRTS program strategies.

THE HISTORY OF SRTS PROGRAMS

The history of Safe Routes to School programs stretches back to the 1970s in Denmark,
which had an alarming number of child fatalities due to road accidents. The movement
reached to United States in 1997, when schools in the New York borough of the Bronx
received local funds to implement a Safe Routes to School Program to reduce accidents
and fatalities involving children around schools. The success of the program convinced
other communities to adopt similar measures and by 2000, Safe Routes to School
Programs were found across the nation from New York to Chicago to Marin County,
California.

In 2005, Congress recognized the importance of these programs and subsequently
established a federally funded Safe Routes to School Program. The new law allocated
money to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to create, implement and administer
Safe Routes to School Programs.

The federal Safe Routes to School Program is aimed at students in kindergarten through
eighth grade. SRTS funds can be used for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure
projects and requests for federal grants must in fact include elements of both.
Infrastructure projects must target areas within two miles of a school and can include
measures such as street crossing safety improvements, spot improvements to existing
pedestrian/bikeways, the creation of new pedestrian/bikeways, traffic calming, signing,
bicycle amenities such as bike parking, or lighting. Non-infrastructure projects can
include such measures as crosswalk guard training, enhanced enforcement of measures
such as school speed zone compliance, public awareness campaigns, funding for
materials for walk/bike to school days, community education measures related to travel
in the vicinity of schools, or funding for student programs related to the role of bicycle
and pedestrian travel relative to safety, health, and the environment. However, there are
certain restrictions on the use of funds; for example, funds cannot be used for the
ongoing cost of deploying school crossing guards, or for the cost of installing new traffic
signals.

While infrastructure is a key foundational element for getting to school safely, it is not
the only aspect of bicycle and pedestrian movement to and from school sites that is
considered today. Activities such as walking school buses and bicycle trains have
become part of the planning toolbox of those interested in developing SRTS programs,
maps or associated studies. SRTS Program frequently embrace these approaches as a
means to add activity to children’s daily routine and to increase the safety, comfort and
environmental consciousness for students and their parents.

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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School

ESTABLISHING A ONGOING SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL
PROGRAM

The CPPW grant which supported the preparation of this report is essentially providing
start-up funding for a quick-start SRTS effort in the City of Stewartville. However, to fully
realize the benefits of a Safe Routes to School program, consideration needs to be given
to establishing an ongoing community and school commitment to maintain these effort in
future years. Key to this will be to find individuals or groups that can serve as champions
for the program and provide some continuity from year to year, particularly as it relates
to any education or encouragement activities that are identified in this start-up project.

Appendix A describes a framework for establishing an ongoing program drawn from the
National Center for Safe Routes to School web site which outlines “Steps to Creating a
Safe Routes to School Program.” This framework reflects work that has been done in
other communities on safe routes to school programs as well as other research in the
field. It is important to note that each community has its own unique characteristics, so a
community may find that a different approach or a reordering of these steps will work
better for their communities.

The following sections provide a brief overview of some of the key demographic
characteristics of Stewartville and current traffic conditions in the city.

STEWARTVILLE AT A GLANCE

Table 1 provides a brief overview of the demographics for the City of Stewartville, drawn
from various sources.

Table 1: City of Stewartville at a Glance

Community Profile                    Number (%)                       Source of Data

County                               Olmsted
Total Population (City of            5,955 (2009)    2009 estimate from Minnesota State Demographic
                                                     Center, Post 2000 Population and Household
Stewartville)                                        Estimates
                                     5,411 (2000)    2000 number from US Census 2000
Population Change (2000-2009)        10%             Growth based on Year 2000 Census and 2009
                                                     population estimate of State Demographer
Population Under 18 Years            1634 (30%)      US Census 2000


Number of Households                 2,304           2009 estimate from Minnesota State Demographic
                                                     Center, Post 2000 Population and Household
                                                     Estimates

Bonner Elementary School             547 (PK-3)      Minnesota Dept. of Education, 2008-2009
                                                     Enrollment by Gender, Ethnicity & Grade Report
population
                                                     Minnesota Dept. of Education, 2008-2009
Middle School population             417             Enrollment by Gender, Ethnicity & Grade Report
                                     (grades 6-8)
                                                     Minnesota Dept. of Education, 2008-2009
Central Elementary School            279             Enrollment by Gender, Ethnicity & Grade Report
                                     (grade 4-5)


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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Traffic Volumes

Figure 1 shows the annual average daily traffic for 2008 on major streets in the
Stewartville area, taken from MN/DOT’s statewide traffic counting program database.

Figure 1: Stewartville Annual Average Daily Traffic Counts 2008




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                       Stewartville Safe Routes to School
SUMMARY OF CRASHES NEAR STEWARTVILLE SCHOOLS 2004-2008

Figures 2 and 3 highlight the crashes involving vehicles that were reported to the State
Patrol for the years 2004 to 2008 near the Elementary, Middle and Central Intermediate
Schools.

Figure 2: Crashes near Bonner Elementary, Middle and Central Intermediate School 2004-08




Source: MNDOT Crash Mapping Analysis Tool




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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 3 shows the reported crashes involving bicyclists and/or pedestrians for the years
2004-2008. There were only five reports filed during that time period involving bicyclist or
pedestrians. Two bicycle/pedestrian crashes were reported near the Central
Intermediate School and one near the Middle School. No bicycle/pedestrian related
crash was reported near the Bonner Elementary School.

Figure 3: Crashes involving Bicyclist or Pedestrian 2004-2008




Source: MNDOT Crash Mapping Tool




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                    Stewartville Safe Routes to School

Figure 4 shows the summary of 150 crashes in the city reported between 2004 and
2008. 73% of crashes involving property damage and the remaining were either
possible injury or non-incapacitating type crashes. There was no fatalities during 2004-
08, however, two reports were filed during the time period 2004-08 where the injury was
incapacitating.

Figure 4: Crashes Summary Report 2004-2008




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                    Stewartville Safe Routes to School
STEWARTVILLE WALKING , TRAIL FACILITIES AND HAZARD ZONES

An inventory of existing facilities and hazard zone maps was compiled through site
visitations during the summer of 2010 by staff of the Rochester-Olmsted Planning
Department. The existing bike and pedestrian facilities were verified in the field and
reviewed with the local authorities and schools to confirm the information. A base maps
(Figure 5 & 6) illustrating sidewalk, trail facilities and hazard zones was created in a
Geographic Information System (GIS) for use in the project.

Figures 5 & 6 show existing sidewalks and bike trails as well as planned trails and
roadway corridors where the city has identified the need for sidewalk installation. Many
of the older residential neighborhoods in the city were developed without sidewalks,
particularly in the vicinity of Bonner Elementary School. Existing crosswalk locations are
shown; these crosswalks at this time consist of only pavement markings and sometimes
both signage and striping on selected legs of each intersection.

Figure 5 highlights the areas designated as being within the walking and hazard zones
near Bonner Elementary School. Hazard zones boundaries for walking and bicycling
have also been identified by the school district for Middle and Central Intermediate
School. Hazard zones are the areas where travel to school by walking or bicycling are
discouraged due to high speed, very high traffic volume on a state highway/county roads
or have no crosswalks facility or due to other physical barriers.




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                    Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 5: Existing and Future Sidewalks Bike Trails Near Elementary & Middle School




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                    Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 6: Existing and Future Sidewalks Bike Trails Near Central and Middle School




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                                 Stewartville Safe Routes to School
PARENTS SURVEY AND C LASSROOMS TRAVEL TALLIES

Two surveys were completed for the Stewartville SR2S project. Parents were surveyed1
using a form developed by the National Center for Safe Routes to School to assess
parents attitudes on school travel and existing facilities available for walking or bicycling.
A copy of the survey form can found in Appendix F. A classroom travel tally2 was
completed for three days in May, 2010 to identify the mode of travel to school by the
children. Some of the key results from these surveys are highlighted below.

The current Stewartville School District policy on busing is to provide transportation to
and from school at the expense of the school district for all students who reside two or
more than two miles from Elementary or Middle School, upon the request of the parents
or a guardian.

Figure 7 illustrates the current distribution of students by the distance they live from
school as reported in the parent survey. This is based on a very limited sample of
parents, however, and may not represent the true distribution of homes relative to the
school their children attend. Approximately 10% were found to live beyond 2 miles from
school and thus would be eligible for busing as per the Stewartville Busing Policy.
Approximately 73% live within ½ mile of the school they attend and would be the
population where walking or biking would be most likely be considered as an option for
travel to school.

Figure 7: How Far Does Student Live From School


                                            How Far Do
                                      Students Live From School
                       50
                       45
                       40
                       35
       Percentages




                       30
                       25
                       20
                       15
                       10
                        5
                        0
                                                                                   Don't
                               <1/4 mi   1/4-1/2 mi   1/2-1 mi   1-2 mi   >2 mi
                                                                                   Know
                     Series1     43         30          17         0       5         5




1 The Parent Survey consisted of responses from 24 households, reflecting a total of 18 % of the
total 4-5 graders.
2 The Classroom Travel Talley was conducted in grades 4-5 with 100% of the students participating.



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                                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 8 reports on the time it takes to get to school based on the limited responses in
the parent survey. For 73% students it takes less than10 minutes to get to school, while
the remaining 27% takes 11-20 minutes to travel to school.

 Figure 8: How Long Does It Take to Get to School


                                      How Long Does It Take To get To
                                                School?
                                               41%
                              32%
                                                              27%




                                                                                0                 0

                              <5               5-10           11-20            >20         Don't know
                              min              min             min             min


Figure 9 illustrates data on travel mode gathered as part of the parent survey for children
in grades K-4. (Note that results are based on a small sample of parents survey conducted at Central
Intermediate School). The majority of students walk and bike to school. 7% students travel
to school by bus in the morning and 8% used bus from school to home. 30% students
were dropped off at school in the morning and 12% of students were picked up by their
parents or others in the afternoon. 4% students used carpooling as a mode of travel in
the morning and 8% used it as a mode of travel in the afternoon.

Figure 9: Percentage of Student Arrival/Departure by Modes


                                      Mode of Travel To/From School
                               70%
                               60%
           Mode of Travel




                               50%
                               40%
                               30%
                               20%
                               10%
                                0%
                                                                      Family
                                        Walk          Bike   Bus              Carpool   Transit       Other
                                                                      Vehicle
                            Morning     52%           7%     7%        30%      4%       0%            0%
                            Afternoon   65%           8%     8%        12%      8%       0%            0%

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                                              Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 10 breaks down the mode / distance relationship to identify what modes are
predominant given how close or distant a child lives from school. It is evident from these
results that distance is a significant factor in the decision of whether a child is permitted
to walk to school. The share of biking or walking to school is zero for students who live
more than one mile from the school.

Figure 10: Mode of Travel by Distance from School


                                  Mode of Travel vs. Distance From School
                              120%
   Mode of Travel




                              100%
                               80%
                               60%
                               40%
                               20%
                                  0%
                                               <1/4 mi         1/4-1/2 mi           1/2-1 mi        1-2 mi          >2 mi
                    Share of Students           52%               26%                   15%          2%              5%
                    Share who walk              81%               49%                   16%          0%              0%
                    Share who bike              10%               12%                   15%          0%              0%
                    Share bused                  0%               13%                   0%          100%            100%
                    Share drove                  0%               26%                   69%          0%              0%
                    Share who carpool            9%               0%                    0%           0%              0%



Figure 11 summarizes data from the Classroom Travel Tally which reported on the mode
of travel to school by grade level (4 & 5th Grade). The share of students walking or biking
to school among these young students was found to be 19% in grade 4 and 16% in
grade 5.

Figure 11: Percent of Students in Grades 4 & 5 Who Walk or Bike to/from School


                                                      Walking/Biking By Grade
                                        450
                                        400
                                        350
                                        300
                                        250
                                        200
                                        150
                                        100                                    19% 16%
                                         50
                                          0
                                                                            Students who bike   Students who used
                                                  Total Responses
                                                                                 or walk           other modes
                                     Grade 4             315                       61                  254
                                     Grade 5             414                       68                  346


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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Some additional questions were asked in the Parent Survey regarding attitudes toward
the option of having their children walk or bike to school. Parents were asked whether it
was their perception that their children would enjoy walking or biking to school if they
could, and whether they felt it would be healthful for their child to do so. Figures 12 and
13 illustrate the results of those questions.

Figure 12: Parents Perceptions regarding Level of Enjoyment in Walking / Biking to School


                         Parent Perception Regarding
                          Walking/Biking To School



                                          50%
                               32%
                    9%                                 9%
                                                                    0%
                Very Fun      Fun       Neutral    Not fun/       Very
                                                    boring     unpleasant/
                                                                 boring




Figure 13: Parents Perceptions about Health Effect on Child Walking / Biking to School


                         Parent Perception Regarding
                          Walking/Biking To School



                    38          33         29

                                                        0            0
                  Very      Healthy     Neutral    Unhealthy      Very
                 healthy                                        unhealthy


Figure 14 reports on the age at which parents would first consider allowing their children
to walk or bike to school. Generally, the biggest jump in attitude occurs in the 4th or 5th


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                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School
grade; with one fifth (1/5th or 17%) of parents also responding they would not permit their
child to walk/bike to school.


Figure 14:      Age at which parents would consider permitting child to walk or bike to school


                     Age Parent Would Permit Their Child
                      To Walk/Bike to School w/o Adult
             Would Not Allow                                    17%
                    5th Grade                                   17%
                    4th Grade                                                    30%
                    3rd Grade                    7%
                   2nd Grade                     7%
                    1st Grade                                          20%
                             K           3%



The factors parents consider in whether to allow or not allow their child to walk or bike
to/from school are shown in Figure 15. High percentages of parents did not permit their
child to walk or bike to school due to their concerns about traffic volume, vehicle speeds
and distance to school, with crosswalk safety, the absence of sidewalks and paths, and
crossing guard presence.

Figure 15: Parents Perceptions regarding Walking / Biking to School


                    Factors Parents Consider in Decesion to Allow/Not Allow
                                  Child to Walk/Bike to School

                 Adults to walk or bike with      0%
                            Amount of traffic                           50%
               Before/After school activities          14%
                     Convenience of driving       0%
                              Crossing guards                           50%
                                     Distance                                    83%
             Safety of intersection/crossing                               57%
                         Sidewalks/Pathways                             50%
                              Speed of traffic                          50%
                                         Time                    36%
                            Violence or Crime             21%
                                     Weather           14%



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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Figure 16 reports the results of a question asking what changes in conditions would
potentially lead the parent to reconsider whether a child could be permitted to walk or
bike to school. The biggest factors identified where related to traffic (volumes and
speeds) along with intersection safety. Other reasons of note included shorter travel
distance, and more sidewalks and paths.

Figure 16: Reasons Affecting Parents Decision to Allow Child to Walk or Bike to School


                     Would Parent Allow Child to Bike/Walk to School
  35%
                             30%
  30%
  25%
         20%                   20%    20%                 20% 20%
  20%
  15%
               10%                   10%          10%    10%            10%    10%
  10%
    5%
    0%




                                     Yes    No   Maybe




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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
COMMUNITY INPUT

Two mechanisms were used to gather input from the community regarding issues and
concerns about travel to school. First, the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department
(ROPD) staff gathered public input through a community workshop that was conducted
in Stewartville on August 18, 2010. Secondly, ROPD coordinated completion of site
audits by school district, city and county staff members to assess facility needs and gaps
and help improve opportunities for drop-off/pick-up areas and non-motorized
transportation at the Stewartville Elementary and Middle School campuses. The audit
helped to identify potential areas for engineering improvements to improve safety in the
vicinity of each school site. Participants in the site audits observed the existing
conditions during peak drop-off and pick-up periods, using an audit checklist to assist in
identifying site concerns and street or parking area deficiencies. Appendix B contains
the results of the completed school audit checklist for the Stewartville Elementary and
Middle School campuses.

SITE AUDIT FIELD OBSERVATIONS

As a whole, the audit team felt Stewartville was not greatly lacking in terms of pedestrian
and bicycle facilities that help child pedestrians walk/bicycle safely to school. The
Stewartville elementary school (Bonner Elementary) as well as the Intermediate School
(Central) and the middle school (SMS) all have a supporting network of sidewalks and
pedestrian walkways in place. As far as drop-off /pick-up areas are concerned, all three
schools have a system that are felt to be somewhat effective. The frequency of
pedestrian signs and crosswalks signs present in the vicinity of each school was felt to
be adequate to make motorists aware that pedestrians could be present.

The city has adopted a policy requiring the construction of sidewalks with development
in all new subdivisions. As a result, new residential areas particularly in the area east of
Bonner Elementary and southeast of 6th Street SE have sidewalks in place.

Bonner Elementary School

Bonner Elementary School has seemingly the
best system among the three schools for
managing vehicular traffic, with separate one-
way driveways serving separated zones for
automobile drop-off/pick-ups and buses.
Bonner Elementary is also served by trail/path
on the south side of 6th Street bordering the
south end of the school. The residential street
along the west side of the school lacks a
sidewalk facility but given the very low traffic
volume on that street it appear to provide safe
but not ideal route for children who walk or bike
to Bonner School. However, the continuity of
the sidewalk network begins to fall short as one
moves away from the school, particularly to the
southwest or northwest. In the residential
areas east and south of the school, the sidewalk is available on both sides.

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                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Among other issues identified were some problems with the pedestrian network around
the Bonner Elementary School along 5th Ave SE. The new development on the south
side of 6th Street provides sidewalks on both sides of Tower Court, 7th Ave Se and
Country-view Court. Similarly, the new development on the east side of elementary
school along Georgetown Dr. SE, Roberts Street SE and John’s Street SE provides both
sides sidewalk facility. The residential neighborhood on the east side of elementary
school is also connected with the school via trail that can be used by pedestrian and
bicyclists. No sidewalk facilities are available along 3rd, 4th and 5th Avenues south of 6th
Street SE and no crosswalk facilities are marked at the intersections of Berg Blvd and 4th
Ave with 6th Street SE. However, pedestrian crossings were marked at the intersections
of 5th Ave/6th Street SE, 3rd Ave/6th Street SE and 7th Ave/6th Street SE intersection.

Central Intermediate School

There is no designated drop-off/pick-up zone outside of the Central Intermediate School.
This leads to congestion during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up hours.
Persons familiar with the Central Intermediate School raised concerns about traffic
congestion at the entry and exit points to the school, caused in part by not having an
area for bus drop-off separated from auto drop-off/pick-up areas. The erection of a three-
way stop sign at the intersection of 3rd Ave and 2nd Street SW helps pedestrians feel a
little safer crossing the street during morning and afternoon peak hour times. However,
2nd Street SW was observed to be very crowded, with vehicles parked on both sides
waiting to pick up children. This forces children to cross a busy street, and during peak
time a child’s view will be obstructed by the parked cars along 2nd Street SW.. The
school has assigned crossing guards at the two busiest intersections adjacent to the
school to assist getting children across the street.       This appears to help manage
pedestrian traffic in a reasonable manner, though additional measures could improve the
safety even further.

Away from the Intermediate School site, the consensus was that the sidewalk network
was generally adequate in the vicinity of the school. There are some missing sidewalk
segments along 4th and 5th Ave SW and along some alleyways in selected areas near
the Central Intermediate School

Stewartville Middle School

Stewartville Middle School shares a site with Stewartville High School, which means
there are more than twice as many students coming and going each day than would
occur if there was a standalone middle school in Stewartville. Since the middle school
and high school days start at the same time, there are traffic congestion problems in the
morning, which is exacerbated by the fact that many high school students are driving to
and from school. The presence of this large number of young inexperienced drivers does
create concern for pedestrian safety, especially for younger middle school students who
walk to and from school. The bus loading/unloading zone is also fairly small, and the
younger children appear to be impacted some congestion in the bus loading area due to
lack of visibility which creates danger for pedestrians as well as young bus riders.

The Middle School/High School does have bus drop-off areas separated from the auto
drop-off/pick-up areas. With these areas effectively separated from one another, traffic


                                                                                       20
                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
flow in each area operates with somewhat congestion but traffic flow is orderly and
efficient.

It was a general feeling that the residential area around the Middle School generally has
adequate sidewalk facility in the vicinity of the school. There are some missing sidewalk
facility along 5th and 4th Ave SW and along some alleyways in the immediate vicinity of
the middle school that would be beneficial to have in place. .

TH 63 Corridor

The lack of crosswalk facility at a number of key intersections along TH 63 needs to be
addressed in order to increase children’s safety and number of students walking to
school from west of TH 63. Key locations where crosswalk safety should be evaluated
further are at the intersections of 6th
Street south and 4th st South along
Highway 63Both Central Intermediate
and Middle School walking boundaries
extend to the east side of TH 63.
Crosswalk facilities along highway 63
and sidewalk improvements strategies
have to be developed to improve
pedestrian safety at the intersections.
While some measures have been put in
place in an effort to control speeding
problems, more advanced pedestrian
crossing safety measures should be
investigated for intersection along
Highway 63

Bike Trails.

While the bike trail system has greatly improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety along 6th
Street SW and 6th Street SE, some challenges were identified for the future trail in
vicinity of Bonner Elementary School and Middle School near the public swimming pool.
On the west side of TH 63 and northwest part of the city, there currently is a lack of a
bike trail facilities but future trail system improvements to serve these areas are
proposed in the City Comprehensive Plan.

Facilities on the city’s proposed trail map that would be greatly beneficial to the schools
include a plan to construct a future trail east of TH 63 south of 6th Street SE and along 6th
Ave SW, and a future trail that would extend north from the existing trail along 6th Street
SW to connect to high and middle school buildings. Once complete, it will provide very
good connection between residential neighborhoods and the schools, and commercial
land uses along TH 63.

Other Issues

Establishment of a School Speed Zone may help to improve safety at all three sites,
especially near the Central Intermediate School. All three schools appear to have ample
bike parking facility near the school entrances. However, it has been observed that

                                                                                        21
                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
many children who ride their bikes to school were riding without helmet. This should be
an area targeted for future improvement, and may point to a need for additional
education about proper riding behavior targeting both students and parents.




WALK AUDIT WORKSHOP

In addition to the site audits described in the previous section, a community walkability
workshop was facilitated by Blue Cross / Blue Shield staff with the help of Olmsted
County Public Health Services and the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department. The
workshop was attended by local residents, local elected officials, school district staff and
city staff. Comments received during the community workshops are found in Appendix
C.

The purpose of the workshop was primarily to gather information from community
members about the local non-motorized facilities, local traffic issues, active living issues
and what role non-motorized transportation plays in their communities. Following the
workshop, meetings with local City and school staff also played significant role in
understating local issues and developing balanced strategies to improve motorized and
non-motorized modes for the safety of students.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield put together a summary of their findings after the Walk Audit
Workshop. Blue Cross/ Blue Shield summary report can be found in Appendix D. The
summary of their findings includes the recommendation to develop a “School Travel Plan

                                                                                        22
                     Stewartville Safe Routes to School
(STP)”. A school travel plan “will help engage key stakeholders (parents, students,
principals, community leaders) and incorporates the five elements of SR2S: Engineering,
Enforcement, Encouragement, Education and Evaluation.”

Primary concerns raised by the participants were the perceived danger of crossing major
roadways to get to Central Intermediate and Middle School. Additionally, participants
identified the absence of school speed zones, and other traffic advisory speed signs,
crossing guard locations and speeding motorists in the vicinity of schools as important
concerns to address. The absence of a sidewalk facility along 5th Ave SE adjacent to
Bonner School was specifically noted as an issue.

Crosswalk locations along Highway 63 were also discussed. Both Central Intermediate
and Middle School have walking boundaries that extend to the east side of TH 63.
Crosswalk facilities at Highway 63 intersections and sidewalk improvements parallel to
TH 63 and on the cross streets have to be developed to improve pedestrian safety at the
intersections. While some measures have been put in place in an effort to control
speeding problems along highway 63, the ability to add additional pedestrian crossing
measures should be investigated and considered along Highway 63.




Figure 17 highlights the lack of sidewalk facilities in the vicinity of the Elementary and
Middle Schools. The figure also shows existing and proposed sidewalks, marked
crosswalk locations and the existing and future bike trail.

                                                                                         23
Figure 17: Facility Gaps Near Stewartville Elementary and Middle School
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL STRATEGIES

The Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Program is designed to create safer walking or bicycling routes to
school for children and to promote walking or bicycling to school if the child lives within a reasonable
travel distance. Among the benefits that can be realized from increasing the opportunities for children
to walk or bike to school include improved performance in school, as a result of feeling more energized
and alert once they are in school, and increased confidence. Walking can also help students feel more
connected to their community, giving them a sense of familiarity and belonging that can be missed if
they are driven to and from school each day.

In the Stewartville SRTS project, the highest priority issues identified were related to improving the
walking environment for children between home and school. Recommendations are identified in this
section for how to increase pedestrian safety, especially along school routes. While the primary
measures identified are engineering measures affecting the physical travel environment, it is also
important that education and promotion strategies be put in place along with the engineering solutions
in order to realize the greatest benefit from the creation of a safer walking environment for school age
children.

Summarizing the key findings of the investigation into existing problems, the study found:

              Automobile and bus drop-off and pick-up zones operate effectively once the vehicles are
               separated into their respective areas, but traffic congestion exists at entrance/exit points
               to the schools especially near Central Intermediate School and on-site at Bonner
               Elementary School, which creates a traffic hazard and concern for the students walking
               or biking to school.
              Lack of sidewalk facilities in older neighborhoods within ½ a mile of the schools,
               particularly Bonner Elementary and Central Intermediate school, acts as a deterrent for
               parents deciding whether to permit their child to walk to school.
              The constant idling of cars waiting in line to pick up children has adverse effects in terms
               of the micro-environment near the school due to pollution from the idling of vehicles.
              While crosswalks and sidewalks/trails are an important element of pedestrian safety,
               there are additional measures such as enforcement and encouragement strategies that
               must be considered to ensure the safety of students and to promote walking and biking
               to school within a reasonable walking and biking distance.
              Another key measures that can be taken to improve safety and promote walking are
               establishing school speed zones in the vicinity of the Middle, Central Intermediate and
               Bonner Elementary School.
              Lack of adequate crossing facilities is an issue that needs further study. This affects TH
               63 in particular but also a number of the intersections in the immediate vicinity of each
               schools in this study. As it relates to TH 63, the Minnesota Department of
               Transportation, as the road controlling authority for State Highway 63, needs to be a
               participant in the evaluation of locations where crossing of Highway 63 should be
               focused need to be prioritized and measures to safely accommodate the crossing
               activity identified. There appears to be different elements to this issue, given that there
               are key intersections without any facilities currently and other intersections with signage
               but no other improvements such as pavement markings. In improving selected locations,
               care needs to be taken to insure motorists are aware of not only the potential for
               crossing pedestrian and bicycle traffic but that some share of this traffic is school related.
                             Stewartville Safe Routes to School

It will also be important to build support in the community for encouraging children to walk or bike to
school through development of an ongoing Safe Routes to School Program including encouragement,
promotion and education strategies.

Adopting a SR2S Plan will help place the city and school district in a position to secure funding through
various grant programs in order to fund improvements to current bike and pedestrian facilities.
Appendix G contains further information on potential funding sources that could be pursued once a plan
of action has been established. Through a comprehensive effort to implement the Safe Routes to
School Plan, children will be able to walk or bike more frequently in their community, which should lead
result in a more active, healthy lifestyle

The strategies identified in following sections, drawn from each of the five “E’s” of the SR2S playbook
should help to improve safety and encourage students to use non-motorized modes of transportation if
they are implemented. Key efforts need to focus on:

            filling in gaps in the sidewalk network;
            improving the quality of intersection safety along key bicycle and pedestrian school
             routes by installing low cost signs and pavement marking.

RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES

Successful SRTS programs will not focus on just one type of strategy or solution, but will incorporate a
combination of measures drawn from a range of disciplines. Some problems can potentially be
addressed through relatively low-cost educational, enforcement or engineering measures, while there
will be other issues that require more expensive engineering or enforcement solutions. It is important to
note that not all 5 E’s will be applicable or appropriate for a given school. Many of the engineering tools
have specific warrants for installation and will require evaluation by a traffic engineer to determine if
they are feasible for a particular location. For example, the establishment of School Speed Zones or
pedestrian crosswalks typically requires certain conditions to be met before the installation of
necessary regulatory signs can proceed. For this reason, the services of a traffic engineer by the local
authorities and MNDOT traffic engineers will be needed to provide guidance on the applicability of
specific engineering improvements.

ENGINEERING STRATEGIES

Engineering tools focus on the design of transportation facilities that provide safe and functional
accommodation for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. Engineering measures can help to improve
pedestrian and bicyclist safety and access, reduce traffic volumes, and decrease vehicle speeds.
These measures may include signage, markings, signals, pathways, and other traffic calming
improvements. Although some engineering solutions are high-cost infrastructure improvements, many
engineering strategies can be implemented without large expenditures, such as posting signs,
modifying signal timings, or painting crosswalks or bike lanes.

IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE AREA OF THE SCHOOL

The following list of engineering solutions were identified as options that can improve the physical
environment in the vicinity of the Middle and Central Intermediate School. Bonner Elementary School
has existing speed zone signs that have to be upgraded with improved or new signs and road
markings.

                                                                                                      26
                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School

The School Speed Zone

Based on the information gathered in the study, establishment of a School Speed Zone in front of
Bonner Elementary, Central Intermediate and Middle/High School should be considered. Signing to
support a typical School Speed Zone is shown in Figure 18.

         Figure 18: Example of Signing for School Area Traffic Control with School Speed Zone




                                                                                                27
                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
School Crossing Outside of School Zone

Another set of signs and pavement marking is required for school crossings outside of school zones,
such as at local street intersections outside the school zone but along key school walking routes(Figure
19). This will improve safety by heightening awareness to the presence of school age children, by
cautioning motorists about the nearby school location and the potential for students crossing the road.

                              Figure 19: School Zone with School Crossing




                                                                                                   28
                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Comprehensive Measures to Address Traffic Congestion at School Entrances

The issues of congestion related to the entrance locations and at the auto pick-up and drop-off zone
were identified as areas of concern. Concept plans for Bonner Elementary and the Central Intermediate
School were developed to provide a starting point for discussion if this problem continues to worsen in
the future. These plans would require a more significant investment of dollars to accomplish, as
measures such as new sidewalk or paths, raised medians or new raised crosswalks should be
considered.

In regards to the Bonner Elementary School, sidewalk facilities should be developed to connect the
residential neighborhood and west side of the school grounds. For better traffic circulation and safety
of pedestrians, raised median dividers on the driveways and new crosswalk markings are proposed at
both entrances from 6th Street SE. 5th Ave entrances were also proposed to be improved by
constructing missing sidewalks facility and by creating a raised median to separate inbound and
outbound traffic. Figure 20 illustrates the conceptual plan for Bonner Elementary School.

Figure 20: Concept Plan for Bonner Elementary School




                                                                                                   29
                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
At the Central Intermediate School, the plan would require construction of bus drop-off area accessed
from the 2nd Street NW to separate buses from the car drop-off along 2nd Street SW. The other
improvements include construction of staff parking behind the school also accessed from 2nd Street
NW. Figure 21 illustrate these concept plans for the Central Intermediate School.


Figure 21: Concept Plan for Central Intermediate School




                                                                                                 30
                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
The Stewartville Middle School has well separated drop-off and pick up areas for buses and autos.
Therefore, minimal improvements are suggested to improve safety and convenience of walkers,
bicyclists and students dropped off by cars. The conceptual plan would require construction of missing
segments of sidewalk along east side of 6th Ave and new crosswalk facility at 6th Ave SW. The other
improvements include construction of missing sidewalk facility to connect the north side residential
neighborhood with school. Figure 22 illustrate the concept plan for the Middle School.

Figure 22: Concept Plan for Stewartville Middle School




All three schools would benefit from the creation of School Speed Zones for the safety of all road users
including pedestrian and bicyclists in the vicinity of schools. Figures 18 and 19 illustrate signing for
school traffic control with School Speed Zone.




                                                                                                   31
SAFETY BEYOND THE SCHOOL ZONE

It is important to determine the most common routes for children walking to school, to analyze
whether the routes are direct and safe. If a route is deemed unsafe, possible solutions to make it
safer could include increasing the awareness of motorists to the presence of pedestrians, filling in
missing segments of sidewalk or trails, improving intersection crossing safety, or slowing the
speed of travel during certain hours. Extending these solutions further than two blocks from the
schools would help make motorists aware that children are walking to school and that they should
be alert.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield put together a summary of their findings after the Walk Audit Workshop and
recommended to develop a “School Travel Plan (STP)”. A school travel plan will help engage key
stakeholders such as parents, students, principals, community leaders in the planning process.

Sidewalk, Crosswalk and Trail Gaps

Figure 23 illustrates a proposed plan for future sidewalks and bike trails that were identified to
provide improved access to the Bonner Elementary, Central Intermediate and the Middle School.
The targeted corridors generally are the residential collector-type streets and one or two major
higher order corridors that would provide the greatest connectivity enhancement from existing
neighborhood areas to the school sites. The figure also shows two separate study areas and
proposed development that may be finalized later on in consultation with property owners to
address any potential design issues, or funding issues. The gaps illustrated in Figures 24 and 25
represent those corridors that would likely provide the greatest return on investment, at least in
terms of benefit to school travelers.

Figure 23: Study Areas Showing Sidewalks/Trail Gaps and Future Crosswalks
                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School

Significant sidewalk gaps were identified by the walk audit group in the vicinity of elementary and
middle schools. At a minimum a single side sidewalk facility is proposed along 5th Ave SE.
Similarly, single side sidewalk facilities are proposed on Berg Blvd SE, and 4th and 5th Ave SE south
of 6th Street SE as shown in Study Area 1 (Figure 24). The audit group also reviewed and discussed
proposed trails identified on the City of Stewartville’s proposed trail map. It shows a future trail
along east side of Highway 63 south of 6th St., and a future trail on the south side of 6th SE east of
7th Ave SE.

Figure 24 highlights proposed improvements in study area 1 near the Bonner Elementary School. It
illustrates proposed sidewalks, future trails, the proposed School Speed Zone along 6th Street SE
and School Crossing at the intersection of Highway 63 and 6th Street SE and at the intersection of
4th Ave SE with 6th Street SE.

Figure 24: Sidewalks/Trail Gaps and Future Crosswalks in Study Area 1




                                                                                                33
                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School
The walk audit group identified sidewalks/trail gaps near the Central Intermediate and Stewartville
Middle School. The group expressed their satisfaction with quality and quantity of sidewalk near
both schools. They found limited sidewalk gaps along the north boundary of Middle School and
mid-block connections. A number of future crosswalk location are proposed for the safety of young
students. School Speed zones are also proposed in front of Central and the Middle School.

Figure 25 highlights proposed improvements in Study Area 2. It illustrates proposed sidewalks and
future trails south and west of Middle School and west of Central Intermediate School connecting
2nd Street SW with 2nd Street NW. The figure also indicates 7 new locations where future
crosswalk may be needed. School Speed Zones would also be needed along 2nd Street NW and
along 6th Ave SW for the Middle/High School.

Figure 25: Sidewalks/Trail Gaps and Future Crosswalks in Study Area 2




                                                                                              34
                               Stewartville Safe Routes to School
On Street Bicycle Facilities

Based on the input and feedback from participants in Walk Audit workshop, streets near all three
schools should also be studied as to the feasibility of on-street bicycle facilities. The study should
be led by the City of Stewartville in consultation with the School District. The range of options to
study could range from bike lanes to less intrusive measures such as bike sharrows or designation
as a bike route. Given the existing width of the streets near Bonner Elementary and Central
Intermediate School, bike lanes would likely require consideration of parking removal on one or
both sides of the street, which could have a significant impact on adjacent properties. Therefore,
intensive level of public consultation would be required if the City or school desire to have such
facilities for their students.

Intersection Safety Measures

Intersection crossing safety appears to be one area of concern that should be studied further to
improve the environment for pedestrian or bicycle travel to and from schools. A range of
improvement measures could be considered, depending on the level of school traffic, the speed
and volume of vehicular travel present, and the available budget. The following lists identifies
common engineering solutions to consider, ranging from lower cost to higher cost solutions.

 Identify and stripe high          The striping patterns and materials used for constructing crosswalks
 visibility crosswalks in          can vary greatly, but, if done properly, can also be a cost effective
 Stewartville along key            method of enhancing the pedestrian route to school. Drivers
 School Walk Routes at             recognize the high-visibility crosswalks (ladder or continental striped)
 collector and arterial street     much better than standard style crosswalks (two parallel lines only).
 intersections where there is
 the greatest potential for
 conflict between
 pedestrian/bicycle traffic and
 motor vehicles.;




                                   This reinforces that motorists should expect to see people attempting
                                   to cross the street where these crosswalks are striped. Some cities
                                   differentiate school crosswalks from standard crosswalks by adding
                                   the ladder-style, high-visibility striping to all school crosswalks.




                                                                                                      35
                             Stewartville Safe Routes to School

Crosswalks should be
enhanced where there are            This graphic, also reproduced
higher numbers of students          from the 2003 MUTCD,
or other pedestrian traffic         presents the appropriate signs
with In-Street Yield or Stop        used in advance of or at
to Pedestrian Signs.                school crossings.




Overhead Flashers can be
used at high pedestrian/bike
crossing intersections to
caution motorists about the
presence of bicyclists and
pedestrians;




Sidewalks should be at least
five feet wide in residential
areas, six otherwise,
exclusive of the curb and
other obstructions. This
width:
  Enables two pedestrians
    (including wheelchair
    users) to walk side-by-
    side, or to pass each
    other comfortably
  Allows two pedestrians to
    pass a third pedestrian
    without leaving the
    sidewalk                        Example of a sidewalk with trees and sufficient space for pedestrians to walk together

 At signalized intersections, all
crosswalks should be marked.
At un-signalized intersections,
crosswalks should be marked in
order to:
  Help orient pedestrians in
     finding their way across a
     complex intersection, or
  Help show pedestrians the

                                                                                                                   36
                               Stewartville Safe Routes to School
    shortest route across traffic
    with the least exposure to
    vehicular traffic and traffic
    conflicts, or
  Help position pedestrians
    where they can best be seen
    by oncoming traffic.
At mid-block locations, crosswalks
are marked where:
  There is a demand for
    crossing,
There are no nearby marked
crosswalks.




Flashing warning signs increase
the visibility of a crossing by
calling attention to the pedestrian
crossing location. They can be
continuous, timed for rush
hours, or activated by a
pedestrian push-button.

A HAWK signal is a combination of
a beacon flasher and traffic control
signaling technique for marked
crossings. The beacon signal
consists of a traffic signal head with
a red-yellow-red lens. The phasing
of the signal is:
    The unit is off until activated by   Flashing Warning Signs
     a pedestrian.
    A pedestrian presses a button
     and the signal begins with a
     flashing yellow light to warn
     approaching drivers.
    A solid yellow, advising the
     drivers to prepare to stop,
     follows the flashing yellow.
    The signal changes to a solid
     red, at which time the
     pedestrian is shown a WALK
     indicator.
The beacon signal converts to an
alternating flashing red, allowing
the drivers to proceed after
stopping at the crosswalk, while the
pedestrian is shown the flashing
DON’T WALK signal.



                                          HAWK Signal



                                                                    37
                              Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Pedestrian push buttons are used
to permit the signal controller to
detect pedestrians desiring to
cross. They can be used at an
actuated or semi-actuated traffic
signal at intersections with low
pedestrian volumes, and at mid-
block crossings
When push buttons are used, they
should be:
  Located so that someone in a
     wheelchair can reach the
     button from a level area of the
     sidewalk without deviating
     significantly from the natural
     line of travel into the
     crosswalk.
  Marked (for example, with
     arrows) so that it is clear which
     signal is affected.
Audible pedestrian traffic signals
provide crossing assistance to
pedestrians with vision impairment
at signalized intersections. To be
considered for audible signals, the
location must first meet the
following basic criteria:
  The intersection must already
     be signalized.
  The location must be suitable         Example standard pedestrian push button (Polara Navigator)
     to the installation of audible
     signals, in terms of safety,
     noise level, and neighborhood
     acceptance.
  There must be a demonstrated
     need for an audible signal
     device. The need is
     demonstrated through a user
     request.
  The location must have a
     unique intersection
     configuration and
     characteristics.
Audible signals should be activated
by a pedestrian signal push button
with at least a one second-delay to
activate the sound.




Crossings within 250 feet of an
existing signalized intersection with    Speaker on pedestrian traffic signal
pedestrian crosswalks are typically
diverted to the signalized
intersection for safety purposes.
For this option to be effective,
barriers and signing may be
needed to direct shared-use path

                                                                                                      38
                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
users to the signalized crossings.
In most cases, signal modifications
would be made to add pedestrian
detection and to comply with ADA.

This type of signs can be used on
TH 63 for crossing within 250 feet
of signalized intersections. .




An effective measure to
reduce vehicular travel
speed, particular for turning
traffic, is to reduce curb radii
at intersections.




                                                                 39
                         Stewartville Safe Routes to School

At high traffic volume
intersections where
incidental traffic could occur,
roundabouts or traffic circles
may provide a cost effective
solution for both pedestrian
and vehicular traffic issues.
Potential applications could
be the intersection of 6th St
SW and 6th Ave SW.




The need for traffic signals as a safety measure should be evaluated to determine if there are any
additional locations where such features could be warranted for safety reasons. Signals with proper
crosswalks facility may improve the safety of students who want to bike or walk to school from the
east side of TH63. Four-way stop signs may have some application at some of the other higher
volume intersections in the city. Four-way stops can be useful in slowing traffic and accommodating
for children and other pedestrians that need to cross a street. Location for such signs near the
schools can be studied by the City in consultation with the schools.


ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIES

The main goal for enforcement strategies is to deter unsafe behaviors of drivers, pedestrians and
bicyclists, and to encourage all road users to obey traffic laws and share the road safely.
Enforcement is one of the complementary strategies that SRTS programs use to enable more
children to walk and bicycle to school safely. Enforcement strategies are aimed at ensuring
compliance with traffic and parking laws in school zones and nearby areas where school traffic may
conflict with other vehicular traffic. Through a variety of active and passive methods, enforcement
activities help to reduce the threats to the health and safety of children associated with activities such
as speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, illegal turns, illegal parking, and other violations.

Enforcement strategies, in conjunction with education efforts, are intended to clearly demonstrate
what is expected of motor vehicle operators and to make them accountable for the consequences of
their actions. While enforcement tools logically center on police and other law enforcement, they also
entail working with school officials, crossing guards, parents and volunteers. In addition to motor
vehicle enforcement, these activities also focus on ensuring that students walking and bicycling to
school are complying with traffic laws. The following enforcement strategies can ensure compliance
with local traffic laws:

        Targeted Enforcement around school speed zones;

                                                                                                  40
                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School
        Establishing a more consistent and wider distribution of Adult School Crossing Guards
         around schools;
        Crosswalk Sting, where law enforcement officers pose as pedestrians to identify drivers
         who fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks
        Neighborhood Speed Watch Programs, where residents take an active role in changing
         driver behavior through recording of speed and license plate data. Motorists exceeding
         speed limits are sent letters informing them of the observed violation and encouraging
         them to drive at or below posted speed limits.
        Speed Trailer or Speed Feedback Signs
        Enforce Traffic Signs, Speed Controls and Pavement Markings. This seems redundant
         since the list already mentions targeted enforcement of speed limits and crosswalk
         enforcement




SITE OPERATION STRATEGIES

Operational strategies focus ensuring that the interaction of vehicle traffic and pedestrians or
bicyclists on the school site and at access points operates in the safest and most efficient way
possible. Site operations should be evaluated on a regular basis to insure that vehicle pick-up and
drop-off activities are consistent with established procedures, that vehicles move efficiently through
the loading zone, and that the necessary monitors are in place to expedite the process, including
unloading of vehicles, the transit of vehicles through the area, and the transit of pedestrians and
cyclists through the area.

EDUCATION STRATEGIES

Education strategies focus on teaching students or refreshing parents knowledge about vehicular,
pedestrian and bicycle safety rules in school zones or along school routes, and increasing public
awareness of the goals and benefits of a Safe Routes to School program. Educational activities
focus on teaching children age-appropriate skills related to bicycling and walking, familiarizing
students with the positive benefits of bicycling and walking, and fostering greater attention in the
community about the need to operate motor vehicles more safely, especially in school zones. The

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                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School
following are the most commonly used strategies to teach safety and promoting awareness among
children and their parents:

        Make available information about safety best practices to every parent/teacher/school
         through various mediums, including online sites as well as printed material distributed to
         families;
        Reintroduce the social norm of walking/biking to school by educating parents/teachers
         and residents that walking/biking to school is good for health, environment, and academic
         performance;
        Increasing public awareness of Safe Routes to School goals and benefits, and promoting
         changes in behavior to increase walking and bicycling;
        Provide educational activities that teach children age-appropriate skills related to bicycling
         and walking;
        Foster greater attention by the community in general to the need to operate motor
         vehicles more safely, especially in school zones.

A major objective of educational and encouragement strategies is to increase the understanding by
parents, school personnel, students, and the community of the health and safety concerns that can
be addressed by successful SRTS programs. Some educational and encouragement programs
include:

        Suggested Route to School Maps;
        Walk and Bike to School
         Days;
        Classroom lessons and
         activities;
        Biking and walking
         contests;
        Safety education.

To enhance the effectiveness of
these solutions, there must an
awareness of pedestrian safety
throughout the community. It is
important to promote safe
pedestrian habits, and teach children from a young age the
importance of wearing helmets when riding bicycles, looking both ways before crossing streets, using
cross-walks, and other safety measures. Although pedestrians do have the right of way at cross-
walks, a person on foot can never be too cautious of his/her surroundings, and it is important that
children understand this concept thoroughly.

ENCOURAGEMENT STRATEGIES

Encouragement strategies are about having fun and generating excitement and interest in walking
and bicycling. Activities such as special events, mileage clubs and contests all provide ways for
parents and children to discover, or rediscover, that walking and bicycling are do-able and a lot of
fun.

Encouragement is one of the complementary strategies that Safe Routes to School (SRTS)
programs use to increase the number of children who walk and bicycle to school safely. In particular,
encouragement and education strategies are closely intertwined to promote walking and bicycling by

                                                                                                  42
                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School
rewarding participation and educating children and adults about the safety and the benefits of
bicycling and walking.

Encouragement activities also play an important role moving the overall SRTS program forward
because they build interest and enthusiasm, which can build support for changes that might require
more time and resources, such as constructing a new sidewalk

Encouragement activities include a variety of measures, including outreach campaigns,
presentations to school and community groups, and surveys of current practices and attitudes
related to the school commute. Schools may also conduct events during International Walk or Bike to
School Week, or conduct local Bike and Walk to School events.

A major objective of encouragement strategies is to increase the understanding by parents, school
personnel, students, and the community of the health and safety concerns that can be addressed by
successful SRTS programs. Some encouragement programs include:

        Development of suggested School Route Maps;
        Holding events such as Walk and Bike to School Days;
        Incorporating information about the benefits of walking and biking into classroom lessons
         and activities;
        Conducting biking and walking contests such as Bicycle Mileage Clubs or Frequent
         Walker/Rider programs;
        Bicycle facilities such as bike racks and other related facilities should be improved to
         encourage more persons to bike to school and other major activity areas in Stewartville;

One of the more effective and fun approaches to encouraging children to walk or bike to school
which has garnered parent support is the Walking School Bus. The Walking School Bus is very
popular program in Minnesota and many school districts have adopted this program. With low level
of class training, it can be implemented if committed adults can be found to act as escorts for each
“bus” . A brochure describing the Walking School Bus concept, developed by National Center for
Safe Routes to Schools, is included as Appendix E. Further information about Walking School
Buses can be found online at:

http://www.ncwrpc.org/wrsrts/data/Att-A__WalkingBus-BikeTrain-guide.pdf

EVALUATION

Understanding the barriers and obstacles that prevent children from walking and biking to school are
essential in implementing an effective Safe Route to School plan. Follow-up evaluation of programs
or actions that have been implemented through means such as surveys will help communities make
the necessary adjustments to further enhance the benefits of any strategy. Also, evaluation of the
program will be key to building and maintaining continuing support for a Safe Route to School
program by being able to show improvements that have occurred through use of before and after
data. Even more, evaluation can show what techniques did not work so that adjustments can be
made or decisions about whether to pursue alternative courses of action can be made.




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                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                    APPENDIX A
                     FRAMEWORK FOR ESTABLISHING A SR2S PROGRAM

BRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE TOGETHER

The first step is to identify people from the community who want to make walking and bicycling to
school safe and appealing for children. Sharing concerns and getting input from a variety of
community members with diverse expertise can enable groups to tackle many different issues.
Different communities will find different organizations and individuals ready to be involved such as
experts from local authorities, school district, school staff, County Health Department, biking and
walking advocates etc. The list should not be exhaustive, but include people from wide range of
interest and expertise related to SRTS groups. The following list of people is identified as right
people for creating a balance and effective SRTS program:

   School:

      Principal and other administrators
      Parents and students, including those with disabilities
      Teachers (physical education or health teachers are a good place to start).
      PTA/PTO representative.
      School nurse.
      School district transportation director.
      School improvement team or city council member.
      Adult school crossing guards.
      Special Education teacher.

   Community:

      Community members.
      Neighborhood or community association members.
      Local businesses.
      Local pedestrian, bicycle and safety advocates.
      Groups representing people with disabilities.

   Local Government:

      Mayor’s office or council member.
      Transportation or traffic engineer.
      Local planner.
      Public health professional.
      Public works representative.
      Law enforcement officer.
      State or local pedestrian and bicycle coordinator.

HOLD A KICK-OFF MEETING

The kick-off meeting has two main goals: to create a vision and to generate next steps. One
approach is to ask each participant to share a vision for the school five years in the future.
Responses are often statements, such as: "a school with fewer cars at the entrance," "more active
children" and "safe walkways." This focuses the group on the positive — what they would like to have
                                                                                                  44
                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School
— rather than what is wrong. Another way to create a positive vision is to ask people to share a
positive memory of walking or bicycling to school when they were young. Provide a presentation on
SRTS programs including issues and strategies related to engineering, enforcement, education,
encouragement and evaluation. The group can then discuss the appropriate next steps and best way
to work toward their vision. This may include forming committees to separate out the tasks.

Coalitions sometimes create committees to take on the major tasks. Some possible SRTS
committees include:

   Mapping and information gathering committee

   Obtains maps, collects information about where children live, the routes they take to school and
   the condition of the streets along the way, including accessibility barriers for children with
   disabilities.

   Outreach committee

   Collects input from parents, teachers and students, and publicizes the program to the school and
   community.

   Education and encouragement activities committee

   Works closely with school administration and teachers to put education and encouragement
   activities in place, gathers materials for activities and solicits donations for programming and
   prizes.

   Enforcement and engineering committee

   The role of this committee is to develop recommendations for enforcement and engineering
   solutions. Works closely with local government and other resources to find funding and make
   improvements.

   Traffic safety committee

   Identifies unsafe drivers' behavior and develops an education campaign to increase awareness.

IDENTIFY ISSUES AND GATHERING INFORMATION

For the purpose of current assignment due to limited funding, identifying issues and gathering first
hand information is considered as the first step. The key is to observe how students walk and bike to
the school. This can be done by observing or mapping the routes that lead to school or making and
audit report to develop a SRTS Plan. Tips sheets at the National Center for Safe Route to School
(NCSRS) web site provides information about creating walking and bicycle route maps and
assessing those maps.

Collecting traffic counts and speed and injury data can help identify safety issues. This data is
available on Minnesota Department of Transportation web sites and can be used. Walking around
the school as a group to observe arrival or dismissal time can be one of the best ways to reach a
collective understanding of the issues, including safety and accessibility, and potential solutions.



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                             Stewartville Safe Routes to School
Finding out about existing policies that may make it easier or more difficult to walk or bicycle to
school can also be useful. For example, a school may not allow children to bicycle to school.
Stewartville Elementary School did not allow students to bike to school few years ago.
Understanding and addressing underlying issues for a policy may be addressed by the SRTS plan.

Second, determine how many children currently walk or bicycle to school. The school may already
have this information. Parent surveys can also be used to understand parents’ attitudes towards
walking or bicycling to school and identify barriers to walking and bicycling that need to be
addressed. National Center for Safe Route to School (NCSRTS) can be used as a resource
NCSRTS Resources for Student In-class Travel Tally Survey Forms and Parent Survey Forms to
use. Forms can be downloaded and printed from the following web sites:

Travel Tally Survey

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/collateral/SRTS_Two_Day_Tally_Scan2009.pdf

Parent Survey forms

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/collateral/Parent_Survey_English_Scan2009.pdf

Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department and other SRTS coalition members can lend expertise in
locating data sources and can help collect the necessary information if needed.

IDENTIFY SOLUTIONS

Solutions to issues identified by the group will include a combination of education, encouragement,
engineering, enforcement and evaluation strategies. Safety is the first consideration. If it is not safe
for children to walk and bicycle to school, then they should only be encouraged after problems are
addressed. Some problems will require engineering solutions; others may require education,
encouragement, enforcement or a combination of strategies.

Identifying SRTS solutions require high level of expertise. It is likely that the coalition will generate a
long list of potential ideas and solutions. The next step will be easier if the list is prioritized. Are some
issues more critical to address than others? Are there “quick wins” that would help to generate
additional enthusiasm early in the program? Walking audits, school site audit checklist and parent
surveys in all three communities have helped identify some solutions to the problems.


MAKE A PLAN

The SRTS plan does not need to be lengthy, but should include encouragement, enforcement,
education, and engineering strategies; a time schedule for each part of these strategies; a map of the
area covered by the plan; and an explanation of how the program will be evaluated. Strategies that
can be implemented early will help the group feel successful and can build momentum and support
for long-term activities. Next chapter includes some strategies on engineering, enforcement,
education and encouragement.

FUND THE PLAN

Funding the plan Parts of a SRTS program will cost very little money. For example, most
International Walk to School Day coordinators say they spend less than $100 on their events. There

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                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School
are many low-cost engineering solutions that can be put into place in a relatively short amount of
time such as new signs or fresh paint on crosswalks. On the other hand, some changes, such as
new sidewalk construction, may need large amounts of capital. There are several places to seek
funding for SRTS program activities including:

      Federal programs: SAFETEA-LU (including funds allocated to SRTS),
      Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Surface Transportation Program,
      Recreational Trail Program and others.
      State SRTS programs.
      Environmental and air quality funds.
      Health and physical activity funds.
      County and city funding.
      Philanthropic organizations.

For more information about these funding resources, see Legislation and Funding

IMPLEMENTATION OF P LAN

There are things that can be done right away without major funding, so some parts of the SRTS plan
can start right away while waiting on other parts. Hold a fun-filled kick-off event and invite the media.
For example, participate in International Walk to School Day or celebrate a Walking Wednesday. If
the school is located too far for children to walk from home, identify places where families can park
and walk part of the way. If improvements are needed before children can walk to school, start
walking activities before, during or after school right on the school grounds. Enforcement, education,
encouragement and engineering strategies will all come together as pieces of the plan that are
implemented.

EVALUATION

After the program begins, careful monitoring will identify which strategies are increasing the number
of children safely walking and bicycling to school. Proper adjustments can be made as this and other
new information is gathered. One simple evaluation measure is to re-count the number of walkers
and bicyclists and compare this number to the findings.




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                               Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                          APPENDIX B
               Completed Site Audit of Stewartville Elementary and Middle Schools


                                                                                 Elementary Middle Central
                   CHECKLIST ITEMS                                                 School   School School
STUDENT DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP AREAS

 Parent drop-off/pick-up area on site?                                              Yes      Yes     No
 Is drop-off/pick-up area separate from other parking?                              Yes      Yes     No
 If drop-off/pick-up is on street, is loading zone marked?                          N/A      N/A     Yes
 Do drop-off/pick-up areas provide enough space for vehicles to line up?            Yes      Yes     No
 Is school staff present to assist loading/unloading?                               Yes      No      Yes
 Does morning drop-off move in orderly fashion without congestion?                  Yes      Yes     No
 Does afternoon pick-up move in orderly fashion without
congestion/conflict?                                                                Yes      Yes     No
 Do drop-off/pick-up areas provide designated pathways to school
buildings?                                                                          Yes      Yes     Yes
 Do drop-off/pick-up areas occur along a raised curb to separate sidewalk
and road?                                                                           Yes      Yes     No
 Are there wheelchair accessible curb ramps?                                        Yes      Yes     No
 Is the area lighted adequately?                                                    Yes      Yes     Yes
 Are there posted traffic signs?                                                    Yes      Yes     Yes
 Is there excessive idling of vehicles and buses while they wait?
                                                                                    Yes      Yes     Yes
 BUS LOADING ZONE

 Are bus driveways physically separated from pedestrian and bike routes?            No       Yes     No

  Area measures taken for safety of students needing to cross in front of or
behind bus?                                                                         Yes      Yes     Yes
  Is traffic in the bus loading zone one-way?                                       Yes      Yes     Yes
  Does bus zone meet the minimum width of 24' for drop-off/pick-up
area?                                                                               Yes      Yes     Yes
  Is there continuous curb/sidewalk adjacent to drop-off/pick-up area
leading into school site?
                                                                                    Yes      Yes     Yes
 SIGHT DISTANCE

 Is desirable sight distance provided at all intersection within walking zone?      Yes      Yes     No
 Do cars park or wait blocking the vision of other motorists/bicyclists             No       No      Yes
 Does school meet sight distance requirements on the school site?                   Yes      Yes     Yes
 Is landscape and vegetation trimmed clear of sidewalks and pathways?
                                                                                    Yes      Yes     Yes
 SIDEWALKS AND BICYCLE ROUTES

  Are pedestrian and bicycle routes separated from motor vehicles by use of
sidewalks/pathways?                                                                 Yes      Yes     Yes

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                               Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                                                                Elementary Middle Central
                              CHECKLIST ITEMS                                     School   School School
 Are bicycle routes designated by signage?                                          No       No     No
 Are marked bicycled lanes present?                                                 No       No     No
Is the bicycle lane network continuous and without gaps?                            No       No     No
 Are children wearing bicycle helmets?                                             <25%     <25%   <15%
 Are sidewalks and bicycle paths regularly maintained?                              No       No     Yes
 Are the sidewalks continuous without gaps?                                         No       No     No
 Do curb ramps have tactile warning strips or textural concrete?                    No       Yes    Yes
 Are the sidewalks lighted?                                                         No       No     No
 Are the sidewalks regularly used?
                                                                                   Yes      Yes     Yes
 ADJACENT INTERSECTION

 Are there high volumes or speeds of automobile traffic?                           Yes      No      Yes
 Are there high volumes of pedestrian traffic?                                     No       No      Yes
 Are there painted crosswalks for all crossing directions?                         No       No      No
 Are there curb ramps located at all adjacent intersections?                       Yes      Yes     No
 Is there appropriate vehicle signage?                                             No       No      No
 Is there traffic control, such as a stoplight or stop signs?                      Yes      No      Yes
 Are there pedestrian-activated walk signals?                                      No       No      No
 For midblock crossing locations, are there adequate gaps in traffic to allow
pedestrian crossing?                                                               Yes      Yes     No
 Are pedestrians crossing in the marked crosswalks?                                Yes      Yes     No
 Is a crossing guard present?
                                                                                   Yes      Yes     Yes
 TRAFFIC SIGNS, SPEED CONTROL, SIGNALS AND PAVEMENT
MARKINGS

  Are there school zone signs, school crossing signs, school speed limit
signs, etc?                                                                        Yes      Yes     No
  Are any visibility (fluorescent yellow-green) signs used in school zone?         Yes      Yes     No
  Are there any pavement markings on roadways in vicinity of school
grounds
  (e.g. "SCHOOL X-ING)?                                                            Yes       No     No
  Is there currently traffic/speed control measures used in the area, such as
speed bumps?                                                                       No        No     No




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                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                   APPENDIX C
                  COMMENTS RECEIVED DURING COMMUNITY WORKSHOP

                         (Comments from Central Intermediate School)

How does your school encourage or discourage walking or biking to school?
   Crossing guards, well marked streets, stop signs, bus safety, bike and pedestrian safety.
   The school does not discuss this as far as I know. They do have bike safety in PE. Thanks
     for this! We live across the street so it was convenient this year.
   Doesn’t do either.
   It does not.
   They teach that walking is good exercise.
   I think they do not encourage or discourage.
   The school doesn’t encourage or discourage my daughter to walk. My daughter has to walk
     to school, because we live very close to the school.
   If they do or not, I haven’t noticed.
   Don’t know.
   They don’t

Please provide any additional comments below.
    Our son walks to school during the winter months and rides his bike when it’s nice. He
      walks/rides with multiple neighbor kids.
    Crossing guards are present, place available to lock bikes.
    I am happy that my daughter walks to school. We live very close to the school, and she can
      and should walk.
    On cold/bad weather days, we drive our children to/from school. Our 5th grader normally
      walks with an older sibling and is not yet allowed to walk on her own. Would LOVE to have a
      busing option.
    I am not happy about her walking to middle school next fall. I worry about that.
    It is too bad that there are not more bus routes offered in town since there is a highway that
      runs through the middle and many residents work at Mayo and start before school does so
      they are unable to drive their children when needed.




                                                                                              50
                         Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                        APPENDIX D
                           Blue Cross Blue Shield Summary Report




SRTS is a program designed to improve the conditions for walking and biking to school
safely. However, when implemented, its effects extend beyond an individual school,
improving walkability and bikability for the community as a whole. SRTS initiatives are not
intended to make every student walk or bike. The program is intended to ensure walking
and biking to school is a safe option for students and their families. In settings where it is
safe, we should encourage the active choice and where it isn’t safe, safety should be
improved.

All schools can benefit from the development of a “School Travel Plan.” The development of
a STP helps to engage key stakeholders (parents, students, principals, community leaders)
and incorporates the five elements of SRTS: Engineering, Enforcement, Encouragement,
Education and Evaluation. At its best a school travel plan is to be a dynamic document
that provides a vision and prioritized action steps.

Within Stewartville, the Bonner Elementary School has the greatest potential and need for a
SRTS intervention based on the level of interest expressed by the Principal and the
significant amount of vehicle drop-off and pick-up traffic observed in the parking lot. Also a
successful intervention at Bonner can be a strong foundation to support more additional
interventions at Central and the Middle High School.




                                                                                            51
                         Stewartville Safe Routes to School




While Olmsted Co. Public Health has collected some data, there are gaps in information.
45% of students travel in a family vehicle to school and 40% return home the same way. A
parent survey was issued, but results are not part of this summary. The challenge is the high
volume of family vehicles in the parking lot at one time. At dismissal time the parking lot had
3 rows of cars filled, children navigating between rows, and the cars driving between the
lanes while other children navigate through.

Particular attention should be given to and discussion should be pursued to understand
where these parents are driving from and what makes driving the convenient choice .
During our visit we did observe bikes in the bike rack and several students walking home.
Collecting information regarding the current routes and identifying opportunities to improve
safety and promote pedestrian and bicycle friendly routes will support targeted education
and encouragement efforts. An effective initiative will use the opportunity to collect this
information as a way engage students and community.

Possible action items:
    Conduct Walk/Bike to school day events that highlight safe routes and the
      opportunities for the students to walk or bike to school.

      Conduct Safe Routes to School workshop with students to identify the current routes
       used by children who are walking and biking. This can also be an excellent
       engagement activity to foster a dialogue between children and their parents with their
       schools.

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                             Stewartville Safe Routes to School




                                             Engineering

Key concerns at Bonner School that may be amenable to Engineering
solutions include:
 Barriers to walking and biking
      Wide Road widths that encourage high traffic speeds
      Unsafe crossing of County highway intersection where cross traffic
       does not stop

 Improvement options to explore include:

      Traffic calming measures as a response to both concerns
      Coordination of traffic calming interventions with enforcement,
       education and encouragement




The greatest engineering challenge involves the crossing of
Highway 63. This is also true for the other schools in Stewartville. Collaboration between the
city, schools, county, Mn/DOT and the community will be crucial to develop and prioritize
engineering solutions regarding crossing Highway 63. There are limited signalized crossings
and the cross street nearest the city park and swimming pool has a crosswalk but no traffic
light. Improvements on Highway 63 will not happen overnight and Bonner has immediate
opportunities. However, improving the walkability/bikeability of this “main street” will have a
ripple effect to support the social norms built around support for greater levels of walking and
biking.

Bonner’s immediate neighborhood has some of the basic infrastructure to support walking
and biking. There are controlled stops (with student patrol) around the school and the school
is still bordered by a neighborhood with some sidewalks. The factors needed to identify other
engineering priorities include identification of key routes and working with the city engineer
to identify specific options to improve the safety for the students.

  Bonner has done very well at creating a safe space for students and school bus traffic.
Mn/DOT indicates that infrastructure requests that are tied to a comprehensive school
      travel plan will be scored higher in the next SRTS program solicitation.




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                           Stewartville Safe Routes to School



                                                 Education
Key elements related to education initiatives related to Bonner
include:


  Key audiences
     – Parents who are driving children to school are the key
     audience
Key messages
    – Health and Safety
    – Convenience

  When and how to deliver messages
    – Events
    – Media and print materials
    – Signage




Bonner recently adopted its current drop-off / pick-up structure and has been
challenged by the congestion around the school during dismissal. This should
not be a new conversation, but one that reframes the issue. There is an
opportunity to engage parents and students about the opportunity, benefits
and safety of walking or biking. Instead of focusing on how to get more cars
into the parking lot, define success by the decrease in number of cars in the
parking lot during arrival and dismissal times or more students walking or
biking.

Possible Action Items:
  Incorporate SRTS initiative into a parent’s night/PTO meeting to discuss concepts, concerns and
     opportunities.
  Host SRTS workshop
  Use the timing and exposure of international walk/bike to school week as a way to highlight the
     routes students currently use.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School (http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/) and the National Safe
Routes to School Partnership (http://saferoutespartnership.org/) have simple guides that can serve as
roadmaps to getting started.

A successful outcome of participation in October’s International Walk/Bike to School day would be to
identify a champion(s) that would like to support implementation of encouragement strategies and
initiatives to promote a greater level of bicycling and walking to the school.

                                                                                                        54
                          Stewartville Safe Routes to School




                                       Encouragement
Key considerations related to encouragement initiatives related to Bonner include:

 What behaviors do you want to encourage?

 Determine goals and audiences

 What Implementation strategies should be considered
            o   One-time events
            o   Clubs and Contests
            o   Ongoing activities

 Plan for sustainability


Encouragement measures typically go hand in hand with
education strategies. Basic engagement of key stakeholders will be crucial to get the
support and buy in from parents and students. However, the current parking lot is a
great challenge. One option to provide some immediate relief might be to consider
establishment of remote drop off sites as a way to introduce walking for part of the
trip while still accommodating parents driving for part of the trip. These could be
identified during a fall SRTS Workshop or as part of walk bike to school events.

Schools with successful SRTS initiatives always have a champion. This may be the
principal, a teacher, or a parent (and ideally a combination of persons representing
all three). The champion is crucial to maintaining momentum once initiatives are
identified to ensure the support needed to see them implemented.

Suggested encouragement strategies:
            o   Establish remote drop off sites for parent drop-offs
            o   “Car free” parking lot days
            o   Early Dismissal for walking or biking students
            o   Identify a regular walk or bike to school day
            o   Establish Walking School Bus routes for children to participate in




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                            Stewartville Safe Routes to School

                                             Enforcement

Important enforcement issue to address at Bonner include:

 Identify safety issues – speed and crossing conflicts

  Introduce Community approaches- Safety Patrols

  Consider additional Law Enforcement approaches
       Speed radar signs and monitors
       Pedestrian “sting” operations accompanied by publicity
       Higher fines and progressive ticketing

As preferred safe walking or biking routes are identified partner with local law enforcement to identify
enforcement opportunities. Coordinate enforcement interventions with infrastructure changes and
educational activities directed to road users in the area of the school.


If Bonner Elementary hosts a safe routes workshop, local law enforcement should participate.




                                       Possible Next Steps

  Host Safe Routes to School Workshop
    – Objective   1: Engage Parents to find solutions
    – Objective   2: Identify a Champion(s)
    – Objective   3: Assess walking/biking routes to be promoted


  Host a Walk/Bike to School day event in October
  Establish remote drop off sites
  Begin work on the school/community transportation plan


              Jill Chamberlain, MN SRTS Network Organizer
minnesota@saferoutespartnership.org or jill_n_chamberlain@bluecrossmn.com
                               651-662-2192




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                        Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                        APPENDIX E
                                 Walking School Bus Program



     Starting a
walking school bus:
the basics

Why develop a walking
school bus?
Studies show that fewer children are
walking and biking to school, and more
children are at risk of becoming
overweight. Changing behaviors of
children and parents require creative
solutions that are safe and fun.

Implementing a walking school bus can
be both.

What is a walking school bus?
A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that
sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus. It can be as informal
as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with
meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.

A variation on the walking school bus is the bicycle train, in which adults supervise children riding
their bikes to school. The flexibility of the walking school bus makes it appealing to communities
of all sizes with varying needs.

Parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their
children to walk to school. Providing adult supervision may help reduce those worries for families
who live within walking or bicycling distance to school.

Starting simple
When beginning a walking school bus, remember that the program can always grow. It often
makes sense to start with a small bus and see how it works. Pick a single neighborhood that has
a group of parents and children who are interested. It’s like a carpool—without the car—with the
added benefits of exercise and visits with friends and neighbors. For an informal bus:

1.   Invite families who live nearby to walk.
2.   Pick a route and take a test walk.
3.   Decide how often the group will walk together.
4.   Have fun!




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                        Stewartville Safe Routes to School

Reaching more children
Success with a simple walking school bus or a desire to be
more inclusive may inspire a community to build a more
structured program. This may include more routes, more
days of walking and more children. Such programs require
coordination, volunteers and potential attention to other
issues, such as safety training and liability. The school
principal and administration, law enforcement and other
community leaders will likely be involved.

First, determine the amount of interest in a walking
school bus program. Contact potential participants
and partners:
Parents and children      Principal and school officials
Law enforcement officers      Other community leaders
Second, identify the route(s).
The amount of interest will determine the number of walking routes.
Walk the route(s) without children first.
Third, identify a sufficient number of adults to supervise walkers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommend one adult for every six children. If children are
age 10 or older, fewer adults may be needed. If children are
ages 4 to 6, one adult per three children is recommended.
Next, finalize the logistical details.
Who will participate?
How often will the walking school bus operate? Will the bus
operate once a week or every day?
When do children meet the bus? It’s important to allow
enough time for the slower pace of children, but also to ensure that everyone arrives at school on
time.
Where will the bus meet children—at each child’s
home or at a few meeting spots?
Will the bus operate after school?
What training do volunteers need?
What safety training do children need?
 See “Walking School Bus: Guidelines for talking to
children about pedestrian safety” at
http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/safety.pdf.
Finally, kick-off the program.
A good time to begin is during International Walk to
School Month each October. Walk and look for ways
to encourage more children and families to be
involved. Have fun!


                                   When picking a route,

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     1. Do you have room to walk?
            AAPPENDIX F
         Parent Survey Form




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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                                     APPENDIX G
                   Source: National Center for Safe Route To School
                          F E D E R A L F U N D I N G O P P ORT U N I T I E S



                          TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENTS

Transportation Enhancements is a program that offers Federal funding opportunities to
expand transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience through projects
related to surface transportation. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and safety and education
activities are eligible for funding through this program. Funding for Transportation
Enhancements projects is administered by the State Department of Transportation. Projects
require a 20 percent match in funding. For more information, visit www.enhancements.org.
Click on State Profiles to learn how enhancement funds are administered in your State.

                   HIGHWAY SAFETY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
The Highway Safety Improvement Program provides funding to States for projects that
correct or improve a hazardous road location or feature or otherwise address a highway
safety problem. The legislation lists examples of many projects eligible for this funding,
including improvements for pedestrian and bicycle safety, and installation and maintenance
of signs at pedestrian and bicycle crossings and school zones. A State may be eligible to use
up to 10 percent of its Highway Safety Improvement Funds for other safety projects, such as
education and encouragement programs. For more information, contact your local state
department of transportation office or local city or county government.

                            TITLE 23, SECTION 402 FUNDS
Sections 2001 and 2002 of SAFETEA-LU reauthorized the State and Community Highway
Safety formula grant program (Section 402 of chapter 4 of Title 23) to support State highway
safety programs designed to reduce traffic crashes and resulting deaths, injuries, and
property damage. A state may use these grant funds only for highway safety purposes; at
least 40 percent of these funds are to be expended by political subdivisions of the State. The
program is administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more
information, visit http://www.nhtsa.gov

          THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies environmental health and
healthy living (including overweight and obesity, and physical activity and exercise) in its
many areas of interest. In fact, to support the national goal of better health through physical
activity, CDC's Nutrition and Physical Activity Program has developed Kids Walk-to-School.
This community-based program aims to increase opportunities for daily physical activity by
encouraging children to walk to and from school in groups accompanied by adults, while
simultaneously advocating the creation of supportive pedestrian and bicycle environments.

The CDC awards grants and contracts to help accomplish its mission to promote health and
quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. For more
information, visit http://www.cdc.gov




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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
                  THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Because of the potential impact on transportation modes, vehicle emissions and air quality,
Safe Routes to School programs may look to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as
a potential source of funding. The Grants Program sponsored by EPA's Environmental
Education Division, Office of Children's Health Protection and Environmental Education,
supports environmental education projects that enhance the public's awareness, knowledge,
and skills to help people make informed decisions that affect environmental quality. EPA
awards grants each year based on funding appropriated by Congress. More than 75 percent
of the grants awarded by this program receive less than $15,000. For more information and
information on current grant opportunities, visit
http://www.epa.gov/ogd/grants/information.htm


                           L O C A L F U N D I N G O P P ORT U N I T I E S


Local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs may benefit from local funding in addition to
funds secured through the Federal-aid SRTS program. Though some communities have
implemented complex local government financing tools such as sales tax funding or bonds to
fund SRTS programs, the easiest and most common way to access local funding is to
identify existing pots of money that are currently flowing to transportation, safety or health
issues and tap into them. There are two categories of local funding through which to pursue
SRTS funds: capital improvement projects and operating budgets:

                        CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
Capital improvement projects (CIPs) are new infrastructure projects implemented using
public funds. These projects are identified through a capital improvement planning process
which is tied to the local budget. During the planning process, the local government identifies
and prioritizes capital improvements such as new roads and sidewalks, and then allocates
funding for construction at least one year before the project is implemented.

Because CIPs may take a couple of years to complete, CIPs tend to have multi-year
budgets. However, most CIPs have the capacity to make changes and fund newly identified
projects and pressing needs. A local transportation planner or engineer serving on a SRTS
taskforce or committee could assist in identifying infrastructure projects and including them in
the capital improvement planning process.

                                 OPERATING BUDGETS
Local operating budgets may provide avenues for non-infrastructure programs and
infrastructure maintenance and repair. Transportation budgets may include funding for
pedestrian and bicycle programs or school zone improvements. Police or Public safety
budgets may include funding for traffic law enforcement or school crossing guards. Public
school budgets may include opportunities for safety education or walking and bicycling
encouragement programs. Recreation budgets may include funding for after school
programs. Including a representative from these departments on a SRTS taskforce or
committee allows complementary sources of funding to be more easily identified.

Most local operating budgets include funding for general maintenance and repair of
infrastructure. Depending on the size of the budget, these funds can be used for inexpensive


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                      Stewartville Safe Routes to School
projects such as striping crosswalks or installing signage, or more costly projects such as
installing curb ramps.


                          P R I VA T E F U N D I N G OP P ORT U N I T I E S


Often, local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs can solicit funding from non-
governmental resources within their own communities. The multiple benefits of SRTS
programs, including the safety, health, environment and community impacts, often align with
the interests of the local community.

The following is a list of potential private funding sources taken from the Safe Routes to
School Toolkit, published by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Corporations and businesses
                                        Contact local corporations and businesses to ask if
                                        they will support your program with cash, prizes,
                                        and/or donations such as printing services. It's good to
                                        ask your parent leaders where they work; they often
                                        can help you get a "foot in the door." When contacting
                                        a company, ask for information about their "community
                                        giving programs."

Foundations
                                        There are institutions throughout the country that
                                        provide funding to non-profit organizations. The
                                        Foundation Center is an excellent source of potential
                                        funding sources. Narrow your funding possibilities by
                                        first searching for geographic region of giving. Look
                                        under categories for transportation, health,
                                        environment, and community building.

Individuals
                                        Statistically, individuals give more money than
                                        corporations and foundations combined. You can
                                        begin a local fund drive by working within your existing
                                        network of team leaders, and outreaching to the larger
                                        community.

Events
                                        Many programs have raised funds by holding special
                                        events. Use the SRTS theme to attract funding. Hold a
                                        walkathon or a bicycling event. You also can choose
                                        more traditional fundraising efforts, such as bake
                                        sales, concerts, talent shows, etc.

Parent teacher associations (PTAs) and school districts
                                  Many PTAs have funds to distribute to school
                                  programs and often schools have safety funding.
                                  Contact your local PTA and the School District to see if
                                  there is a method for applying for a grant.


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