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United Way Launches Safe Routes to School Initiative

Community Partners, photo credit: Don Mroczkowski

Community Partners, photo credit: Don Mroczkowski

Students' walk to school should be a safe one. Thanks to the collaboration of Gannon University, Erie's Public Schools, United Way, the Blue Coats initiative and community partners, the Safe Routes to School Initiative is improving the safety of our school students, so they can get to school regularly and on time. 

United Way began facilitation of the implementation of an Erie Community Foundation Shaping Tomorrow grant focused on increasing school attendance at Community Schools by conducting a comprehensive education and awareness campaign; identifying, improving, and promoting the safest walking routes to each school; and piloting "walking school buses" along the safe routes. 

The installation and launch of the Safe Routes initiative follows United Way’s collaborative work with Gannon University faculty and students like Qusai Abdel Wahab to conduct walkability assessments identifying the safest routes for students to use when they walk to school. As part of the project, Gannon faculty and student interns observed how Erie’s Public Schools students go to and from school, the physical conditions of those school routes, and any potential safety concerns.

This information was analyzed and mapped to identify the safest routes. Partners then worked to determine any potential physical improvements to those safe routes. The City of Erie also plans to leverage a portion of its Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant to provide added or improved signage, pavement markings, traffic control devices and sidewalk improvements to enhance the safety of students walking the routes. As part of this initiative, signage will be installed this summer in neighborhoods at four additional United Way community schools (East, Edison, Pfeiffer-Burleigh and Strong Vincent.)

See more photos from the announcement here.

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