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Bikes Make Life Better!

Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Launches Saris Poster Contest to Encourage Fifth Graders to Bike to School

MassDOT's Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program is partnering with Saris Cycling Group, a manufacturer of bicycle racks and cycling training products, to launch the Bicycling Makes Life Better poster contest. The contest encourages 5th grade students to recognize biking as an active and sustainable transportation option that benefits their physical health and their community.

SRTS Outreach Coordinators will select three winners. The first place winner will receive a brand new bike. Second and Third Place winners will also receive gear to make their bike ride safer and fun. The Massachusetts First Place entry will then be considered for the national prize - a chance to attend the 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington DC and receive an exclusive bicycle parking and tracking system known as The Hub for their school!

“The contest provides a fun activity to get students excited about learning and provides teachers a creative way to introduce healthy living concepts,” said SCG Advocacy Coordinator Heather Fortune. “This is a great way to encourage fifth graders to simply think about the places a bike can take them, for fun or for transportation.”

Tips & Tools to Participate

  • Every entry must be original artwork created by a student who is currently in the 5th grade at a MA SRTS Partner Location
  • Make it colorful! Use colored pencils, markers, watercolors and crayons. Pieces with items glued to the poster, such as collages, will not be considered.
  • Partnering with your school's art teacher or after-school program coordinator is a great way to encourage and give students time to participate.
  • Invite your SRTS Outreach Coordinator to host a bike safety assembly for the 5th grade class. Students can then create their posters based on what they learned about bicycling.
  • Create buzz about the contest in your classroom by hanging up flyers and promote this exciting opportunity to your fifth grade students!
  • Poster entries must be related to the contest theme: aBikes Make Life Bettera in some way. The themed title must also appear on the poster. All words must be spelled correctly.
  • The student’s first and last name must be written or signed in the lower right-hand corner on the back of their entry.
  • A completed Permission Slip must accompany all entries to be considered for the three state prizes.
  • All entries will be displayed at a post contest location to be announced. Contact your SRTS Outreach Coordinator for more information!
  • Mail all entries to:
    Samantha Fonseca-Moreira
    Massachusetts SRTS Statewide Coordinator
    10 Park Plaza, Suite 2180
    Boston, MA 02116
    To see a complete list of contest rules, please visit http://www.sariscyclinggroup.com/poster-contest

Save the Date! 6th Annual Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Forum

March 13th, 2013

Sheraton Framingham 1657 Worcester Road, Framingham MA, 01701

The 6th annual Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Forum is an opportunity for educators, public health professionals, law enforcement officials, local government representatives, and parents to come together and take away solutions that create opportunities for children in Massachusetts to walk and bike safely and frequently. Be sure to check your email next week for your official invitation, as well as the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Facebook page for special updates about the Forum.

For more information about the 6th Annual Safe Routes to School Forum, please contact your School Outreach Coordinator.

MassDOT Highway Administrator Celebrates Safe Routes to School Infrastructure and Launch of PhotoVoice Initiative in Reading

MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola joined Reading local and school officials and parents for a ribbon cutting and student presentation to celebrate completion of pedestrian access and safety improvements surrounding the W.S. Parker Middle School campus.

The project was made possible by MassDOT using federal Safe Routes to School funds.

“MassDOT is committed to maintaining and constructing a safe and reliable roadway network for all its users. We are focused not only on drivers but also on the safety of bicyclists and even the youngest pedestrians,” said DePaola.

W.S. Parker Middle School’s new and enhanced infrastructure improves access and safety for students that walk and bike to school. MassDOT engineers constructed several hundred feet of new sidewalk and buffers along Washington Street. The project also included 650 feet of new sidewalk along Sunnyside Avenue, new wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, and traffic and pedestrian warning signs.

W.S. Parker Middle School students also participated in the new Safe Routes to School PhotoVoice® initiative in which they presented photos showing personal experiences walking and biking to school, including how MassDOT’s infrastructure improvements improved pedestrian safety in their community. MassDOT’s Safe Routes to School program introduced PhotoVoice® in the fall of 2012, with W.S. Parker Middle School as the first School Partner to participate. The Photovoice® program is a unique approach to teaching students how to identify strengths and barriers surrounding pedestrian safety in their community. Students demonstrate “walkabilty” and “bikeability” through photos that they take on a typical walk to and from school and by incorporating these photos into writing exercises and group presentations.

W.S. Parker Middle School is one of 575 Massachusetts schools participating in MassDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. Participating elementary and middle schools located in 165 communities throughout the Commonwealth receive year-round pedestrian and bicycle safety education instruction as well as engagement initiatives tailored to meet each school’s physical fitness, safety and environmental priorities.

MassDOT Safe Routes Engineering Projects Shape the Attitudes and Decisions of a Future Generation

Throughout the Commonwealth, the Safe Routes to School Program is actively shaping the attitudes and decisions of a future generation. The implementation of GreenDOT policy and the progressive movement to put healthier initiatives into action by promoting active modes of transportation is paramount. Most recently, MassDOT hosted the Moving Together conference to discuss alternative mode shifts which specifically target bicycling and walking as active modes of transportation. That is exactly what the Safe Routes to School program accomplishes, simply with a much younger audience.

In an effort to curb the national childhood obesity epidemic and with an understanding that suitable school zone infrastructure in support of walking and biking varies from community to community, MassDOT employs the Engineering component of the Safe Routes to School program to create infrastructure improvements. Safe Routes to School partners, through an annual infrastructure assessment application process, request improvements such as the installation of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, bike paths, traffic signals, traffic calming devices, and pedestrian crossing signs. Most recently, MassDOT completed Safe Routes engineering projects in Attleboro, Canton, Chelsea, Lowell, Reading and Scituate. The following improvements were celebrated this fall:

  1. Thacher Elementary School, Attleboro, MA Approximately 1,500 ft of new sidewalk along the easterly side of James Street from the intersection of Brownell Street to the intersection of Carpenter Street was constructed. A small portion of new sidewalk along the westerly side of James Street was also constructed from Maple Street to Carpenter Street. New crosswalks and ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps were constructed at the intersections of James Street, with Brownell, Orange, Mulberry, Maple, and Carpenter Streets. The improvements included new pavement markings, new traffic signs, new pedestrian warning signs, and drainage modifications.

  2. The Hansen School, Canton, MA Approximately 200 ft of new sidewalk with grass panel was constructed along Kenney Street to the intersection of Washington Street. Approximately 1400 ft of sidewalk with grass panel was reconstructed along Pecunit Street from Washington Street to the intersection of the Galvin Middle School driveway located to the north of the Canton Little League baseball field. The parking lot for the baseball field was reconstructed to provide a one-way flow configuration with angled parking stalls and a defined sidewalk space. Pecunit Street was also reconstructed within the limits of the project and striped to depict 5 foot wide bike lanes. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs and pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

  3. Browne & Wright Middle School, Chelsea, MA The project included sections of sidewalk (or bump-outs) to reduce the roadway section, wheelchair ramps, and approximately 150 ft of full depth pavement reconstruction at the school entrance along Walnut Street. Bump outs, wheelchair ramps and a push-button activated flashing warning beacon were installed at the intersection of Walnut Street and Fifth Street. The intersection of Arlington Street and Sixth Street was also reconfigured to include an additional sidewalk, wheelchair ramps, and a landscaped area. New pavement markings, signs, and minor modifications to the existing drainage system were also included.

  4. McAuliffe Elementary School, Lowell, MA Approximately 1400 ft of new sidewalk was added along the entrance and exit driveways of the school, beginning and ending at Beacon Street. In addition, a 100 ft section of sidewalk was constructed along Beacon Street to create a connection with the primary pedestrian crossing to the school. Also included was a 300 ft section of new sidewalk along the west side of June Street between the school’s exit driveway and Thirteenth Street. The school entrance and exit driveways were striped to depict 5 foot wide bike lanes. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

  5. W.S. Parker Middle School, Reading, MA The project included approximately 500 ft of new sidewalk with grass panel along Washington Street, between Woburn Street and Prescott Street. Multiple large street trees were preserved during the installation of 650 feet of new sidewalk along Sunnyside Avenue, between Prescott Street and Fairview Avenue. New ADA accessible wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, and minor drainage modifications were also included.

  6. Hatherly School, Scituate, MA Approximately 2,800 ft of new sidewalk was constructed along Hollett Street from the intersection of Gannett Road to the intersection of Ann Vinal Road. New crosswalks and ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps were constructed at the intersections of Hollett Street with Gannett Road, Sedgewick Drive, Bullrush Farm Road, and Ann Vinal Road. Improvements also included new pavement markings, traffic signs, pedestrian warning signs, retaining walls, and minor drainage modifications. The project was coordinated with the Scituate DPW to incorporate their waterline replacement and a reconstruction project on Hollett Street.

To achieve the goals of the GreenDOT and Healthy Transportation Compact, MassDOT aims to create sustainable and comprehensive walking and biking programs through its Safe Routes to School partners and their communities. The creation of strong partnerships with community stakeholders, government officials and non-profit organizations is vital to fulfilling this goal. Together, these collective partnerships ensure today’s youth have access to safe spaces for walking and bicycling to school, educational resources on pedestrian and bicycle safety, opportunities for physical activity and the knowledge to prevent injuries, which will assist in the development of healthy attitudes and decisions towards active transportation.

**Massachusetts Safe Routes to School