Safe Routes to School Program
The city of El Paso believed their community would benefit from the application of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) principles for their 48 elementary schools. Studies meeting TxDOT, City of El Paso, and El Paso Independent School District requirements also had to address the “Five E’s” of a successful SRTS program: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation. With the effort kicking off in March 2008, the aggressive schedule required team building and engineering observations to be complete by the end of October. With the use of study maps, aerial photographs, field visits, and open dialog with the community, three of the most important safety improvements were identified for each school and discussed with the City, the school district, and the school administration. The project produced traditional traffic engineering approaches combined with innovative context-sensitive solutions to enhance walking and bicycling opportunities. As a result of these studies, the City of El Paso received grant money from the SRTS program totaling $4.8 million for non-infrastructure projects and $1.8 million for infrastructure projects.