Safe Routes to School aims to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools. The goal is to reverse the decline in children walking and bicycling to schools, increase kids' safety and reverse the alarming nationwide trend toward childhood obesity and inactivity.
In the fall of 2016, the City hired a Safe Routes to School Coordinator, who works with Charlottesville City Schools to teach K-8 students about safe, active transportation.
Activities and Programs Plan
The Charlottesville Activities and Programs Plan is a thorough look at the context in which students currently bike or walk to school, and how they could do so in the future. The plan's vision for fun, safe, and active travel to school was developed with the ideas and experience of citizens, educators, school administrators, health experts, and bicycling and pedestrian advocates. The plan has been endorsed by the City Council and Charlottesville School Board, and received final approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation. In July 2016, the City was awarded $56,000 to hire a part-time Safe Routes to School Coordinator and implement the many activities and programs envisioned in the plan.
Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Projects
Using state funds awarded as part of Virginia's Safe Routes to School program, Charlottesville has been working to improve the safety of walking and bicycling to school by providing and enhancing sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, bike lanes, bike racks, and other multi-modal facilities near its schools, including Jackson-Via Elementary, Clark Elementary, Walker Upper Elementary, Burnley-Moran Elementary, Venable Elementary, and Buford Middle School.
Jackson-Via Harris Road Project
As part of Charlottesville’s Safe Routes to School Program, the City is making enhancements to pedestrian crossings that serve Jackson-Via Elementary School. We’re adding curb extensions and more visibly painted crosswalks to make people walking, biking and driving more visible to one another. Construction will concentrate around the intersections of Harris Road/JPA/Camellia and 5th Street. All existing crossings will be brought up to current Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Two hundred of Jackson-Via's 333 students live within a mile of the school, but less than 35 of them walk to school regularly. Parents worried about dangerous traffic volumes and speeds on Harris Road prefer to see their kids take the bus for even short distances. But feedback gathered during the 2nd Annual JPA BikeWalkPlay & SRTS Walkabout showed that if the street environment improved, more parents would send their kids to school on foot or by bike. In November 2014, Charlottesville was awarded a Safe Routes to School grant to eliminate barriers to walking and biking to school on Harris Road.
Click on the image to see a preliminary engineering schematic of proposed improvements to Harris Road.
Plans and Existing Conditions Reports
- Clark Elementary School Travel Plan | December, 2012
- Jackson-Via Elementary School Walkabout | September, 2013
- Walker Upper Elementary School Walkabout | October, 2014