Friday, July 10, 2020

Safe Routes to School

If you still believe in CLIMATE CHANGE, then Safe Routes to School is very important. If you live by a school in La Crosse you will know that every parent on the face of the earth MUST driver her/his child to and from school, parking near the entrance, and, often, idling for 10 to 30 minutes per trip. Schools have even invited this by redesigning entrances to provide more spaces for cars to pull in and idle. 
Idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, which are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects. Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other air toxics during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children. Children’s lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. - EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit
Never mind that the EPA thinks idling is so dangerous to children's health that it has a whole program designed to STOP people idling their cars by schools. Never mind that some of the children live but a few blocks away or that about one in every 7 Wisconsin children is obese or that every fossil fuel car trip sends climate-changing greenhouses gases into the atmosphere.

If you want to help solve the climate crisis, get your kids to school some other way than driving them. Safe Routes to School is trying to encourage that. The plan that will be discussed is an update that's been open for public comment for about a month. Each elementary and middle school has a plan (for some reason, SRTS thinks high school students are a lost cause. Sad.)

My complaint with this process is that it's like asking people who have never seen a vegetable, what kind of salad to serve the children. We live in CAR-IS-GOD's country and if you are not a car and dare to try using a road, street, or highway, woe be unto you, even if you are a child trying to bike to school. Could we close a street in front of a school for a couple of hours per day so no one but those with permits could drive to the front of the school? Could we narrow a street by adding a walk/bike multi-use lane (not a sidewalk, but claw back a street lane) protected from moving vehicles by posts, blocks, planters? Could we set an intersection light to be4-way green FOR BICYCLES ONLY for one minute of each cycle?

Other cities, even whole countries, have asserted that the rights of people are more important than the rights of fast cars. For example, check out this short online webinar from Mobycon on The Elements for Creating Child Friendly School Zones. "Over two-thirds of all school-aged children walk or cycle to school, with 75% of secondary school students cycling to school." If someone is achieving like this, wouldn't you want to use their ideas and designs? If you're on Twitter, follow @fietsprofessor check out #PowerfulMobilityMemes.

Enough ranting. Here's the message about the upcoming meeting:

In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Safe Routes to School Plan Committee meeting will be conducted through video conferencing. The meeting can be viewed by clicking this link (or typing the URL in your web browser address bar):

If you wish to speak on an agenda item, you can do so as part of the virtual meeting.  Contact the Planning and Development at the email: or phone number 608-789-8676 below so we can provide you with the necessary information to join in. Agenda items approved for public hearing by the committee are open to public comment.

Members of the public who would like to provide written comments on any agenda may do so by emailing Questions, call 608-789-8676



Best Regards,
Jack Zabrowski
Associate Planner
City of La Crosse Planning and Development
608-789-8676 w
608-381-1033 c

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