By Terry Rogers
As part of DelDOT’s Safe Route to Schools Program, entrances at Lulu M. Ross and Benjamin Banneker Elementary Schools are undergoing improvements. The changes will make the entrances compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make them safer for students.
“Near Banneker Elementary, the project includes upgrading cub ramps along Church Street at the intersections of Allen Way and Bright Way, adding marked crosswalks across Allen Way and Bright Way, as well as upgrading school zone, stop sign and one-way signage,” said Sarah Coakley, Pedestrian Coordinator and Safe Routes to School Coordinator. “At Ross, the project includes moving the curb ramps at Lovers Lane back from the corners and reconstructing them, moving crosswalk markings and re-striping, repairing a section of sidewalk on Southeast Third Street that is being lifted by a utility pole guidewire as well as adding an ADA compliant curb at the intersection of Southeast Third Street and Bridgeham Avenue.” Other upgrades to Ross include filling a sidewalk gap along Southeast Third Street and ADA compliant curbs added at Southeast Third Street and Charles Street.
The Safe Route to Schools Program is an effort to encourage and enable students to walk or bicycle to elementary or middle schools. It is supported by federal transportation funding that may be used for education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation activities as well as physical improvements. The program partners with law enforcement to encourage children to use the marked crosswalks, for example, and providing educational materials on pedestrian safety. To date, 47 schools in Delaware have participated in the program which developed in 2005.
“Delaware’s program operates on a first-come, first-served basis,” Ms. Coakley said. “The City of Milford, Milford School District and the two schools requested participation in 2011 and 2012. Only one infrastructure project is completed at a time per school in order to spread the funding out to as many schools as possible. Schools partner with the municipality to develop a plan for improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. Activities and projects in the plan are then eligible for funding.” Ms. Coakley said that DelDOT provides assistance in creating the plan.
Another project under the Safe Route to Schools Program through DelDOT was completed last summer at Milford Central Academy and all three projects were coordinated with the school district, schools and the city.