Pamplin Media Group – New Traffic Garden creates refuge to teach children road skills
The scaled-down diagram gives students a place to practice walking and cycling
When Whitney Bennett is teaching street safety to elementary school students, she quickly chalks out roads and intersections with chalk and has the children role-play.
“Someone being a pedestrian and someone being a car,” Bennett says, “and start interacting in a very safe area where they can learn the skills and do it independently. ”
Bennett is the Safe Routes to Schools coordinator for central Oregon.
“The goal is to increase the number of students and families who walk and cycle to school. Bennett uses the term “ride” to include scooters, bicycles, roller skates, and any non-motorized form of transportation with wheels. “It’s healthy. It’s fun. It reduces the impact of traffic around schools. It helps improve the school community.”
COVID restrictions have limited opportunities for Bennett to have in-person contact. So Bennett asked the city of Madras to help create a ‘traffic garden’ on the grounds of South East Seventh and South East C streets, a place where children and families can practice their skills on their own. in terms of traffic.
The city installed the signs for the Traffic Garden and cleaned up the grounds so they could paint the roads and intersections. This version is chalk spray, but Bennett expects it to last up to eight weeks.
A shortage of drivers has led to a reduction in bus routes, making finding safe routes to school important for more people.
“Our programs come into play when students are within a mile of an elementary school.” Bennet said. “We are trying to make sure people know the best route to take to get to school safely.”
Students can find maps on the organization’s website describing safe routes to school at www.commuteoptions.org/safe-routes-to-school and for more information on the Traffic Garden www.commuteoptions. org / trafficgarden
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