The Chatham Safe Routes to School Committee held its last Monthly Walk to School Day at the K-5 schools in early June. The students also created thank you cards for the crossing guards, a tradition the Safe Routes to School Committee started last year.
“Students love the music and festivities on Walk to School Days, and I think we have really made a difference in motivating students to walk with their friends to school,” said Kathy Abbott, Co-Chair of The Safe Routes to School Committee. “We are also proud of our efforts to highlight the importance of our crossing guards, who care for our children in all kinds of weather.”
The Safe Route to School Committee coordinates with the school administrators, police, municipal officials and school parents to create a safer environment for walking to school. The group, composed of parent representatives at each K-8 school, conducts a parent pedestrian safety survey, hosts a crossing guard appreciation breakfast, police bike and pedestrian safety presentations on National Walk to School Day, and monthly Walk to School Day festivities.
These volunteer efforts have qualified the Chathams to apply for and win sidewalk grants from the National Safe Routes to School program.
In 2014, the Chathams won a $578,000 sidewalk grant for Lafayette Avenue adjacent to the high school/Lafayette School campus and running through both the township and the borough. This grant also included a connector sidewalk from Lafayette Avenue to the Spring Street access to Southern Boulevard School in the township.
These sidewalks have been delayed but are expected in 2018. This year, the Safe Routes to School Committee also won a $374,000 grant for a much needed sidewalk on Shunpike Road from Pine Street to Falmouth Road.
With the completion of the new sidewalks, the Safe Routes to School Committee will have made the Chathams into a much more pedestrian friendly community for children and adults alike,” said Amanda Feeman, co-chair of the Safe Routes to School Committee. “It has been a lot of detailed work and outreach, but well worth the effort! We'd also like to thank TransOptions for their guidance, especially with our first grant."