How can we make a regular commute for children safer and more creatively engaging?
Hardy Elementary School sits in a central — albeit heavily trafficked — part of the neighborhood. Busy Roanoke Avenue is a regular commuter path for vehicles, but more importantly, it also sees lots of foot traffic to and from the school, by students, parents, teachers and more. Traffic, paired with unreliable pedestrian safety crosswalks, makes the area a source of stress for parents and teachers, who want safe walking routes for their kids.
Over the course of the Planning By Doing Workshops, our Safe Walk Team heard from local parents and teachers on the need for safety improvements around the school, particularly from Roanoke to Glass Street. The team investigated temporary, quick and effective interventions to help keep kids on foot safer, then partnered with other PBD workshop teams to execute.
First there was the issue of traffic. The Hardy Safe Walk Team created a yarn mural woven into a fence on Roanoke Avenue that says “Slow Down” to oncoming traffic. The mural is located in a bend in the road and is over 6 feet tall, making it visible from a distance and helping alert drivers to greater foot traffic not just in front of the school, but along the entirety of Roanoke up to Glass Street.
Second, the team identified the safest routes for students walking home and created murals and stencils to mark the route. And who better to make this happen than the kids themselves? Over a series of field trips, students learned about stencil art and murals, and then helped apply Hardy’s eagle mascot to the sidewalk along the safest path, ultimately encouraging students to “follow the eagles.” Plus, the students applied eagle designs and buildings along the street, further reinforcing which route students should take to stay safe on their way to and from school. The eagle stencil was designed by a local resident and team member, Jonathan Dean.
- Create an art installation that warns drivers of increased foot traffic
- Identify and mark safe walk routes for children
- Engage local students in placemaking projects
Laura Margaret Jones
Reginald M Yearby