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Volume 9, Issue 9
September 2011

“Safe Routes to School” grant will improve safety in Leahy neighborhod

Washington County has been awarded a $411,000 Safe Routes To School (SRTS) project award focusing on pedestrian safety infrastructure enhancements near West Tualatin View Elementary School. This project is one of ten statewide projects approved for funding during the 2012 cycle.

Area resident Ruth Deal has been working for years to make it easier and safer for kids to walk to the school. She has led neighborhood projects to trim vegetation intruding on streets and blocking motorist sightlines, and has encouraged parents to teach their kids to walk safely to school. Lately she’s been working with the Beaverton School District to implement SRTS programs at several other schools in the district.

A previous grant application was not approved. Ruth says, “Our second application was greatly improved by the expertise and participation of skilled Washington County staff. They put together a compelling project plan. We must also give a big thanks to Lynne Mutrie for her support and understanding of our project during the review processes in Salem.” Mutrie is a board member of Oregon Alliance for Community Traffic Safety and previously managed Portland schools’ SRTS program.

Improvements, scheduled to be implemented during summer 2012, include:

  • Three corners of the four-way SW Taylor/SW Leahy/SW 90th  bus stop;
  • The south side of SW Leahy from four-way stop east to the school's SW 88th/SW Leahy crosswalk, where the asphalt path will be leveled/repaired;
  • A raised corner/curb at SW 88th on the west corner school crosswalk for safety and better visibility;
  • Safety improvements on NW 88th to SW 88th crossing on W Stark Street; and
  • Improvements to the west side walkway entrance into the school property to make it ADA accessible, and add curbs to separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic.

The corner improvements will help slow cars, define the corners and give a safe haven for pedestrians and people waiting for buses. Deal notes, “We will still be walking in the streets. We need to continue to encourage homeowners to build paths on their property that connect sidewalk segments. Trimming bushes and trees to keep sidewalks and paths clear so walkers can pass by is key too. A reminder is needed for all of us to trim as school starts. Our walkers are out again.”

The project doesn’t involve bike lanes. Deal says, “Until the county widens Leahy—making it a real street without ditches, we have no room for bike lanes, even though Leahy is shown on county bike maps as a route!”

The national Safe Routes To School Program was enacted in 2005 to provide funding for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects to encourage elementary and middle school children to walk and ride bicycles to school. The multi-faceted objectives of the SRTS Program are to promote a healthy lifestyle among school children and reduce congestion, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.



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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291