A4: Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets

APA North Carolina Chapter


Thursday, April 25, 2019
1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT

CM | 1.50

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The Town of Apex is undertaking an innovative and collaborative approach to Safe Routes to School analysis and project prioritization. This presentation will provide background information on the need for Safe Routes to School initiatives in Apex and will elaborate on the work that is being completed. In 2015, Apex staff were asked to plan for school zone beacons at the area schools that had until that time no more than static signs. Town staff set out to find a low cost, centralized system to operate. The cloud-based system using cellular communication and GPS, installed in 2016 at eight schools, has now been operating for two years.  Further work was later prompted by two school pedestrian incidents in a short timeframe, citizen requests for sidewalks and crossings, and a schools focus group as part of the Advance Apex planning process. The Town’s Safe Routes to School project identification and prioritization process involved development of a worksheet, a map template with a checklist, and a project database. Meetings with school principals were held over the summer and multiple site visits have since been completed. This presentation will highlight specific pedestrian improvement projects that have been implemented and projects that are underway. The purpose of this presentation is to share lessons learned including, coordination with various stakeholders, leverage of key data sources, and the benefits of school site visits. 

"Safe Routes to School initiatives, especially in traditionally underserved communities, provide important health, safety, environmental, and quality of life benefits for children and their families; as well as foster parent and community engagement to increase awareness of and support for addressing school-related and community-wide transportation safety issues.

Improving child pedestrian safety and encouraging walking is a goal for many local and regional partners within Wake County. In support of these goals, the Capital Area MPO started a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Subcommittee in 2015 and formally began the CAMPO SRTS Program in January 2016 when the Executive Board adopted the SRTS Program Elements. The Subcommittee developed the SRTS Program Elements using the three pillars of Policy and Guidance, Outreach and Education, and Infrastructure Improvements. The Program Elements are the framework for the overall CAMPO SRTS Program. Since the adoption of the Program Elements CAMPO has undertaken desktop audits around school sites and prioritized SRTS studies as part of the area study process. 

CAMPO’s efforts were partly inspired by a grant-funded project in Wake County to model SRTS programs at five schools (four elementary and one middle) while identifying policies and practices at the school-, district-, municipal-, and county-level that could be improved to support pedestrian safety. Accomplishments since the start of the project in 2015 include: SRTS action plans, an improved school district wellness policy, new guidelines for the design of school sites, and numerous municipalities recommending the adoption of Complete Streets policies. Project partners are continuing to support the model programs and policy change, while disseminating best practices that have been identified thus far. The project will conclude in September 2019, but the lessons will continue to inform CAMPO’s work on SRTS at the regional level. 

This session will provide an update on the group’s work since our initial presentation on the project at the 2016 NCAMPO conference.  It is our hope that the outcomes of our efforts will inform and encourage other North Carolina MPOs to identify actions that support SRTS within their region and consider developing their own SRTS programs. 

Complete Streets accommodate all types of vehicles and people travelling along the roadway. Complete Streets should also include deliberate attention to pedestrian and bicycle crossings as a key element of the transportation network. Most pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections at roadway crossings and most bicycle crashes occur at intersections, indicating that streets and roads lack sufficiently designed intersections and crossings. The FHWA Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program is promoting safer crossings and implementation of several proven crossing countermeasures: Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB), Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, Crosswalk Visibility Enhancements, Raised Crosswalk, Pedestrian Refuge Island, and Road Diet. The STEP program developed the Guide for Improving Pedestrian Safety at Uncontrolled Crossing Locations to help agencies identify applicable countermeasures and strengthen the decision-making process. This session will demonstrate the importance of improving pedestrian and bicycle safety, the role of crosswalks and bicycle intersection treatments in the transportation network, and how these countermeasures can be integrated into Complete Streets policies, plans, design guidelines, and projects. 



Russell Dalton

Russell Dalton, P.E., serves as the Senior Transportation Engineer for the Town of Apex and has worked for the Town since 2005, originally hired as their first traffic engineer, and was president of NCSITE in 2010. He has both BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from NC State ... Read More

Jenna Shouse

Jenna Shouse serves as the Long Range Planner for the Town of Apex. In this role she is leading a Safe Routes to School analysis. Jenna graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning and from NC State University with Bachelor’s Degrees ... Read More

Kenneth Withrow, AICP

Has served as a transportation planner for the North Carolina Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Raleigh area since May, 2000. AICP certified through the American Planning Organization. Current member of the North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association; as well as the BikeWalkNC Board of Directors ... Read More

Amy Sackaroff, AICP

Amy Sackaroff, AICP: Amy Sackaroff is a senior transportation planner with 18 years of experience in developing sustainable solutions for complex transportation projects across the Carolinas. Amy manages the development of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and other analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and guides associated interagency ... Read More

Kristen Brookshire

Kristen Brookshire joined the University of North Carolina (UNC) Highway Safety Research Center in 2012. In her role as a research associate, she is focused on conducting and supporting research and programs related to bicycle/pedestrian safety and mobility. Kristen has a master’s degree in city and regional planning ... Read More

Jennifer Delcourt

Jennifer serves as the Active Routes to School Coordinator for a nine county region in North Carolina (Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Guilford, Person, Rockingham; and Wake Counties) to assess the readiness of elementary and middle schools in each county to implement Safe Routes to School programs. Read More

Lauren Blackburn, AICP

Lauren Blackburn, AICP, is a Senior Project Manager with VHB. Ms. Blackburn has over 15 years of experience in multimodal and long-range planning, and she is based in VHB's Raleigh, North Carolina office. Ms. Blackburn’s key areas of interest are in bicycle and pedestrian transportation, comprehensive planning, roadway ... Read More

Ed Johnson

Ed Johnson is NCDOT's Safe Routes to School program manager, and is leading the development of workshops to support implementation of NCDOT's Complete Streets policy. Ed has more than 10 years experience with NCDOT and local governments, and he is a Registered Landscape Architect. Read More

Contact Info

Neil Burke, nburke@ci.charlotte.nc.us