CMSD Launches "Safe Routes to School"
Walking to and from school can sometimes be hazardous for kids in an urban environment. To address the issue, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District launched its “Safe Routes to School” program Monday.
At Louisa May Alcott school, parents carry bright yellow signs and escort groups of kids across the street and down the sidewalk. It’s called a "walking school bus." But not every neighborhood is as pedestrian-friendly as this west side community.
"We do know that one of the barriers, particularly in our communities that have less housing stock and more industry, that safety and feeling safe coming to school is a big problem," says Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon. He points to two urban areas where the district is working to improve the kids’ commute. "Case school community on E. 40th & Superior because there’s not a lot of housing there. There’s a lot of industry there and kids have to walk through an industrial area to get to school. And also in the Slavic Village in Willow school because it’s so tucked away with train tracks and other things around it."
Cleveland’s Safe Routes program is part of a national movement. The effort has received $460,000 from the state to help pay for flashing lights at crosswalks and wheelchair accessible curb ramps. Gordon says CMSD also works with the city to address abandoned homes and improve lighting where children walk to school.