Help with Safe Routes to School?

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    I’m wokring as an intern in a local gov office in Georgia.  I have no experience with SRTS, but I’ve been asked to write the plan for the city and county.  It’s a small town and the planner here wants bike lanes, bike lanes and more bike lanes.  To me it does not make sense adding bike lanes in small neighborhoods where the streets are only 18-26′ wide.  Almost every street has on street parking – usually on both sides.  I do not think the neighborhoods would be happy to lose their on street parking.  Any advice? 

    Trace One

    Hard to tell from this information, Cassie..Is it too far for the kids to walk? I think trying to get kids to walk to school has to be a multi-front war – make sure there are safe crossings, with pedestrian lights, safe sidewalkds, route continuity, and bike paths – can’t have too many bike paths, as far as I am concerned. It can be hard to integrate with cars and parking, though..
    Bruce Appleyard, a planner, specialized in the safe routes to schools stuff (west coast, though), I think he has a book and a web site, and probably would respond to e-mails, if he is not white-water rafting.. I would do a lot of reading and on-line research, survey parents and kids and police to get on-the ground information, and talk to people like Bruce Appleyard, if you can..Good luck! At least you have a really good topic to work on – I think walking to school would really help our national obesity and ADD rates, IMHO..


    My opinion would be that bike lanes in lieu of on-street parking as a prescriptive blanket response is probably not the best solution.

    Just thinking about it, perhaps there’s I hierarchy that occurs where a main ‘bike artery’ is identified with pedestrian collectors. I’m not familiar with SRTS standards so I’m just venturing some ideas. I think some of the New Urbanist street guidelines and princples might be helpfult to look at.

    Falon Mihalic

    SRTS is a fantastic program with federal funding. I used to work for the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, IL- they have great SRTS info on their site: and the SRTS National group has tons of resources on their site:

    In terms of adding bike lanes, the program should be comprehensive to include facilities (bike lanes, bike parking, sidewalk improvements, etc.) in addition to programming (social marketing, incentives, participation in the National Bike and Walk to School day, etc.) Active Transportation Alliance has written many many plans for suburban towns and individual schools throughout the Midwest. You can view full PDFs of some of their plans here:

    Also, look at Bike Boulevards in Portland, Oregon for examples of bike priority streets in residential areas.
    Feel free to shoot me a message to continue the conversation. I would be glad to put you in touch with some of the SRTS experts I know. (By the way, the New Urbanist standards are more in favor of traffic calming instead of on-street bike facilities so that bikes can ride as “vehicles”. However, the vehicular cycling philosophy doesn’t work so great with 10 year olds. That’s another topic for another day!)

    Lucy Wang

    As a commuter cyclist, I agree that you probably do not need to add bike lanes in neighborhoods if that means taking away parking in already narrow roads. Small neighborhoods generally have slow-moving, infrequent traffic so I really feel that the danger level is pretty low. And even though I’m in favor of bikes over cars, I know that taking away neighborhood parking will most definitely ignite some motorist vs cyclist anger, which is bad. An alternative, if you want to create the image of a bike friendly neighborhood, I suggest you paint sharrows and put up bicycling signs/ install new bike racks.


    Thanks for the help! It would be great to get in touch with some others who are working on SRTS. I am way in over my head!

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