Over the past two years, Circulate San Diego spent many mornings and afternoons hanging in the City of Coronado. But instead of sunbathing or site seeing we were providing fun and interactive Safe Routes to School (SRTS) activities to the large number of students walking and biking to school. The compact nature and the central location of the schools make Coronado a walking and biking paradise for students. Nonetheless, the City is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to traffic safety.
The combination of traffic congestion and the large number of students walking and biking to school in Coronado represent an ideal situation to conduct an SRTS educational and outreach project. Circulate San Diego worked in partnership with the City of Coronado, the Coronado School District, and the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) to conduct SRTS educational and outreach activities at the four schools in the Coronado School District.
Circulate made a big impact with students utilizing classroom workshops based on an age-appropriate curriculum. This included Circulate’s “Walk This Way” presentation for elementary students and a version of the “Share the Road” presentation for middle and high school students. These programs teach students basic and more advanced concepts related to the benefits of biking and walking to school, biking and walking traffic laws, bicycle fit and maintenance, helmet safety, and parking and locking a bike.
Circulate, SDCBC, and City staff found interactive methods to engage students around pedestrian and bicycle safety. Our efforts included partnering with the media program at Coronado Middle School to develop a series of videos supporting safe active transportation and proper safety behavior videos that the City could utilize on an ongoing basis. Watch below.
The SDCBC had a major impact by engaging and educating all students with outdoor, interactive, hands-on skills training rodeos with props (such as sidewalks, intersections, traffic signs, and cars). These trainings allowed students to participate in real-life traffic simulation courses to practice bicycling safety skills at a level appropriate for their age level. While many students had their own bicycles and helmets, loaner bicycles and helmets were provided. The CMS media program even developed a video story on the bike trainings:
Throughout the program Circulate and SDCBC staff coordinated with school staff, city staff, and the police department to find ways to have fun and interactive events for the students. These events included hosting a Bike to School Day on May 4th, 2016 for the first year and a Walk to School Day on October 5th, 2016 the second school year of the project. The events utilized incentives and contests to help encourage more students to bike and walk to school.
To measure the outcomes from this program Circulate conducted before and after bicycle and pedestrian counts at each of the participating schools. Data was collected, using forms found on the National Center for Safe Routes to School web site. In order to keep the momentum of the project sustained and pursue next steps after the program ended, Circulate Staff specifically tailored an SRTS toolkit for the City of Coronado.
If you would like to learn more about increasing walking and biking at your school or school district through fun and interactive programs, please visit our website Circulate San Diego or contact Program Manager Catherine Thibault.