Park and Walk: Whitman recap

A bright and sunny morning welcomed the Whitman walkers as we made our way from a nearby parking area to the school. Since many families drop students off, we held our first “Park and Walk,” to be as open as possible to the various ways people get to school. We had people arrive at the parking lot by foot, car, cargo bike, and even scooter!

 

Once at the school, kids headed to class while we listened to parents’ concerns about safely getting to school. While some of the feedback falls outside of what the Fixing Our Streets funding can address (such as drug use in the park next to the school), having a deeper understanding of barriers to walking and biking to school may lead to some creative solutions. The list below details concerns and opportunities described by Whitman parents and staff.

Community Challenges

  • Biking doesn’t feel safe because cars at the gas station block the bike lane; the other bike lanes near the school also get blocked, mostly by parents dropping their kids off

  • SE Flavel St. generally, and particularly the intersection of SE 72nd Ave. and SE Flavel St., feels very dangerous -- even the school’s safety patrol crossing guards (with their neon vests and flags) have almost gotten hit by cars

  • The marked crosswalks are spaced way too far apart so people jaywalk in front of the school often

  • Sidewalks aren’t continuous, so it doesn’t feel safe having young kids ride a bike at all (if sidewalks were continuous all the way to school, some parents would be comfortable having kids who live too far to walk ride bikes instead)

  • A large number of families live in apartments right by the school but can’t walk directly to Whitman because of a gate that’s always closed and locked -- if this gate was open, kids wouldn’t have to deal with many of the difficult traffic problems

  • Visibility is low for drivers exiting the parking lot because of overgrown bushes and cars parked too close to the exit

  • Many unpaved roads south of the school

  • People park illegally in the bus zones

  • People living in the park and doing drugs makes walking feel unsafe, especially for kids

Community Ideas for Solutions

  • Open the gate near the apartments and allow kids through, at least before and after school if not all the time

  • Encouraging more people to walk could make it safer for everyone

  • More crosswalks and better (more visible) crossing markings and flashing beacons -- including a crosswalk on Flavel between 60th and 72nd

  • Continuous sidewalks all over the area

  • A safe driving program for parents

  • Improving unpaved roads with walking trails

 

Do you live, work, or spend time in this area? Is there anything you would add? Please leave a comment below or email us and let us know!

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