Friday, October 3, 2008

Silver Spring Civic Associations Support National Walk to School Day


October 1, 2008

Contact: Jennifer Chambers, 301-588-1716

Wednesday, October 8, 2008, is National Walk to School Day. President’s Council of Silver Spring (Prezco) has organized a pedestrian safety campaign to educate and encourage motorists and pedestrians to “Drive Safe” and “Walk Safe.” During the morning of October 8th, twelve civic associations involved in Prezco will educate motorists and walking children and adults in their neighborhood to drive and walk cautiously and safely at dangerous intersections and streets. Education will include: “Drive Safe, Walk Safe” yard signs; articles written in neighborhood newsletters, list serves, and websites; publishing school bus stop times and locations in neighborhoods; hand made signs and citizen presence at dangerous intersections and streets; letters written to organizations or businesses asking their members and patrons to drive and walk safely in their neighborhoods; and working with the neighborhood’s elementary school to help organize Walk to School Day events. For example, parents in the Indian Spring neighborhood will organize and participate in the Walking School Bus to Highland View Elementary School during the morning of October 8th. National Walk to School day encourages children to walk to school to promote personal and environmental, healthy living and educates them about safe practices for walking on streets.

President’s Council of Silver Spring (Prezco) is a coalition of twelve civic associations in Silver Spring who advocate for the concerns and needs of their citizens. In early 2007, Prezco made pedestrian safety a priority to advocate for increased pedestrian safety on the streets in Silver Spring. Each civic contributed to a list of unfriendly pedestrian roads, intersections, and situations in their neighborhoods. Eighty pedestrian safety problems were identified and included in a chart organized by the roads primary, secondary, and jurisdictional status, in addition to coding the problems as hot button issues or ones that could be easily fixed, such as restriping a crosswalk. In September 2007, this chart was submitted to the County Executive, County Council, and at the time the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT). All three were very receptive and responsive to Prezco’s advocacy on this issue. In particular, DPWT has worked well with Prezco to alleviate the unfriendly pedestrian situations in our neighborhoods. Since June of this year, eighty percent of the pedestrian safety problems identified by Prezco have either been resolved or the projects have been completed. When County Executive Ike Leggett and Councilmember Valerie Ervin announced Montgomery County’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative last December, they credited Prezco's plan as its inspiration.

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