Safe Routes for Healthy Kids

It’s an excellent opportunity to help kids get out and have a safe route, and certainly as a result become healthier.

Bryan Finn, Springfield YMCA

I think anything we can do to make things safer for children, we should attempt to do.

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, IL House of Representatives

No child should have to walk near heavy traffic and dangerous intersections just to earn an education.

Amy Madigan Brown, Parent

genHkids is pleased to be partnering with the Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans) of Chicago on the Safe Routes for Healthy Kids campaign.

For a variety of reasons, the number of children who walk or bike to school has decreased in recent years.  Active Trans and the Safe Routes for Healthy Kids coalition teams up with parents, students, teachers, and other organizations across the state to strive for improvements to the Illinois Safe Routes to School program, which provides support for street improvements and educational programs that encourage walking and biking to school.

By providing a voice in Central Illinois, genHkids has brought the issue to the attention of our legislators, our school administrations and our neighborhoods. Our goal is to ensure that sidewalks and intersections near schools and parks are safe for walking and biking, and then to provide education, support and encouragement to allow kids to take advantage of improvements. Walking and biking to school is a natural way to get get kids outside and moving, and can help improve the health of our kids!

We recently participated in a wSafe Routes for Healthy Kids Walk1alk in Springfield Illinois to highlight some of the issues that children might experience as they attempt to walk or bike to school.

On this relatively short walk, several areas were identified as potential issues:

  • On 2nd Street – Wide sidewalks, bike lanes, complete street, comfortable walking (near the Capitol Building)
  • When crossing 2nd Street at Cook Street – The pedestrian crossing signal was not working.
  • On the North side of Cook Street – Many obstructions on sidewalk (wheelchair could not get through), railroad crossing not ADA accessible, sidewalk directly next to driving lane, no curb or other separation between pedestrians and vehicular traffic when crossing railroad tracks, because Cook is one way heading west there is no railroad crossing warning sign for pedestrians walking east
  • On the East side of 4th Street – Sidewalk cracked and uneven
  • When crossing Lawrence Avenue – note to the west on the south side there is no sidewalk in places and there are steps on the sidewalk
  • On the South side of Lawrence Avenue – Sidewalk severely damaged, missing at the east end
  • Noted along Lawrence Street – During winter the sidewalks are not shoveled and snow from the parking lots is pushed onto the sidewalks.

To learn more about why Safe Routes is important to the health of our children and communities, click here.

Many communities could benefit from Safe Routes.  If you think Safe Routes could benefit the children in your community, please take a few moments to fill out our survey:

 

 

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Do you want to talk to legislators, administrators and others who might be able to make a difference in your community?  Here are some basics about the issues that will help you make your case to your representative and local government and school officials.

Check out these news stories about the Safe Routes for Healthy Kids movement:

WCIA: March 7, 2016