Strategies For Reaching Neighbors
Sign leading participants to a Safe Routes to School open house in California.
Examples of educational flyers.
Neighbors should be engaged early in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) planning process. This provides an opportunity for SRTS coordinators to hear and address these concerns and increases the likelihood that neighbors will take action to make or keep routes safe. The impact of potential safe routes to school activities on neighbors should be assessed. For example, a remote drop-off area may be initiated to ease traffic congestion near the school. While it improves safety for pedestrians and bicyclists and gives those that live further away the chance to walk, it may also create traffic problems in new areas. Identifying and addressing these issues need to be part of the process.
Ways to reach neighbors include:
- Attend neighborhood group meetings to introduce SRTS, discuss neighbors' needs and concerns and ask for their help. A community in California invited neighbors to a "pruning party" and provided supplies and assistance to trim vegetation growing over the sidewalks. If conflict over trimming trees and bushes occurs, local officials can often resolve by enforcing local ordinances.
- Host an "open house" for neighbors and parents to learn more about SRTS.
- Install informational signs in highly visible locations around the neighborhood.
- Distribute flyers to homes near the school. Some communities have mailed information with utility bills.