Safe Routes to School
About Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a program that promotes walking and bicycling to school through infrastructure improvements, enforcement, safety education, and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling to school.
With over 150,000 people living in a compact city (about 15 square miles), Alexandria provides an ideal environment for walking and bicycling since so many families live close to their neighborhood elementary schools. Alexandria has had a formal Safe Routes to School program since 2003 when we participated in our first annual International Walk to School Day. The City has also been making streets near schools more pedestrian-friendly for many years.
Planning for Safe Routes to School
In 1969, about 89 percent of children who lived within one mile of school walked or biked to school. In 2009, that number was 35 percent. Increasing the proportion of children walking and biking to school requires communities to be proactive about encouraging walking and biking as a way of getting from place to place. That's why the City of Alexandria has been continuously implementing programs and projects to encourage more walking and biking to school.
School Walk Audits
To increase safety for students walking and biking to school, and to encourage more students to walk and bike, the City develops Safe Routes to School plans, also referred to as "walk audits" for each school.
SRTS Walk Audit Reports, Phase 1 (2017)
- Charles Barrett Elementary School
- Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology
- Douglas MacArthur Elementary School
- George Mason Elementary School
- James K. Polk Elementary School (Pilot)
- Jefferson-Houston School
- John Adams Elementary School
- Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy
- Naomi Brooks (formerly Matthew Maury) Elementary School
- Mount Vernon Community School
- Patrick Henry Elementary School
- Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School
- William Ramsay Elementary School
SRTS Walk Audits, Phase 2 (2023)
Visit the Phase 2 Walk Audits project page for more information.
- Polk Avenue Sidewalk Safe Routes to School Project
- William Ramsay Safe Routes to School Project
- School Zone Speed Cameras
- Safe Routes to School Walk Audits Phase 2 (coming soon!)
- Curb Extensions Near Schools
- Ongoing Spot Improvements
- Rayburn-Reading Avenues Complete Streets Project (John Adams Elementary)
- Commonwealth Avenue Complete Streets Project (Naomi Brooks Elementary)
- North Beauregard Street and Morgan Street Intersection Improvements (Ramsay Elementary)
- North Jordan Street and North Howard Street (Patrick Henry School)
- Russell Road, High Street, and Monroe Avenue (Naomi Brooks Elementary)
- Mt. Vernon Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue, and Hume Avenue (Mt. Vernon Elementary School)
- Pedestrian safety improvements at Charles Barrett Elementary School
- Speed cushions, median island, and crosswalk improvements at Maury Elementary School
- Pedestrian countdown timers and curb ramps at Hammond Middle School
- Bicycle lanes near George Mason, MacArthur and Mount Vernon Elementary Schools
- A median refuge, signal improvements and new, accessible pedestrian signals at Mount Vernon School
- Sidewalk concept development and alternatives for Cambridge Drive near MacArthur Elementary
- Intersection reconstruction at Monticello Ave and Cameron Mills Blvd near George Mason Elementary
- Intersection reconstruction at Reed Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue near Cora Kelly Elementary
- Median islands, sidewalk and crosswalks near Polk Elementary
- Speed cushions and crossing improvements on Monticello Blvd near George Mason Elementary
- Citywide flashing school zone signs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a walk audit?
A walk audit is an evaluation of walking and biking conditions near schools. Walk audits are performed during either the time of arrival or dismissal of students and help to assess the condition of sidewalks, crosswalks, signs, and behavior of students, parents and commuters that use the corridors used by students to get to school. One objective of a walk audit is to identify and document factors that hinder students from walking or bicycling to school. Some of these hindrances include, but are not limited to the width of sidewalks, volume of traffic, street signs and lighting, availability of bicycle lanes and topography.
Information recorded from a walk audit will be used to inform and prioritize future infrastructure improvement plans through the Complete Streets program. Improvements may include curb extensions, traffic calming, crossings, or better wayfinding to schools along accessible routes.
Who is involved in walk audits?
A walk audit is performed by a multidisciplinary group to examine conditions. This group includes trained professionals, engineers, planners, pedestrian and bicycle specialists, school administration, volunteers, and parents.
What is the purpose of a walk audit?
The purpose of a walk audit is to identify and record concerns for students as they walk or bike to school. Information recorded from the audit will be used to inform and prioritize future infrastructure improvement plans through the Complete Streets program. Improvements may include curb extensions, traffic calming, crossings, or better wayfinding to schools along accessible routes. Programmatic recommendations to increase safe walking and biking to schools will also be included in the final reports and will be considered for implementation by ACPS.
How is the Safe Routes to School program funded?
The Safe Routes to School Program is funded in the City's Capital Improvement Program. Additional funding may be available through regional, state, and federal grants.
Does the Safe Routes to School Program include crossing guards?
Crossing guards are an important element of providing safe routes for kids to walk or bike to school. The City's crossing guard program is managed by the Alexandria Police Department.
Visit Alex311 to contact staff with questions or comments about the Safe Routes to School Program.