Throughout the District children are once again traveling to school and, while doing so, encountering traffic safety problems.
While some of the traffic safety problems near District schools are caused by commuters who speed or fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, some are caused by parents who are just trying to get their children to school.
If you happen to find yourself outside a school during arrival or dismissal, there’s a good chance you’ll see parents making illegal U-turns, blocking a travel lane, parking on top of a crosswalk, or stopping across the street from the school and sending their kids across the street, mid-block, between moving cars.
The traffic chaos outside schools can become so extreme that parents decide to drive their children to school–instead of walking–to keep their children safe. This is a Catch 22: the more cars that arrive at a school, the more all the children at the school are exposed to traffic danger.
DDOT’s Safe Routes to School program is available to assist schools with solving these types of problems. The program, which is aimed at elementary and middle schools, works to make it safer for students to walk and bike to school and to encourage more students to do so. Among many other elements, the program works with schools to make sure that there is a safe arrival and dismissal system in place for parents who drive to school. To learn more about the Safe Routes to School program, please contact program coordinator Jennifer Hefferan at 202-671-2227 or Jennifer.Hefferan@dc.gov.