Neighborhood Safety Committees
A group of parents and neighbors hovered together observing the drop off on McAllister Avenue in Kentfield. Students from Kent Middle School and Bacich Elementary School were dodging cars to get to their respective schools. Fed up with the frightening situation on McAllister, a major thoroughfare for students going to both schools, parents and neighbors were adamant that the kids need a safe place to walk and bike to school and took action.
With the help of Supervisor Katie Rice‚Äôs office they are finally seeing some real solutions.¬†¬† Rice helped the neighbors to form a Neighborhood Safety Committee and brought the county public works, CHP, Sheriff, and Safe Routes to Schools to the table. The County and Safe Routes engineering team worked together to develop recommendations and incremental changes that ultimately would create a much safer route along this well traveled corridor. Now this committee is clamoring for funding for implementation.
This is the third Neighborhood Safety Committee that has been organized by Rice. One in Sleepy Hollow has developed an outreach and education campaign as well as seeing some much needed signage improvements in their neighborhood. Oak Manor in Fairfax is also developing outreach materials and is looking forward to getting a speed feedback sign on the downhill direction to caution drivers to slow down.
In San Rafael, Supervisor Connolly‚Äôs office is working with Safe Routes to Schools to help the Terra Linda neighbors address the congestion caused by multiple schools and Kaiser in a small six block area. They are developing some creative outreach approaches while the City of San Rafael looks at some of the intersections and crossing guard needs.
Another committee is forming in the Canal through Supervisor Kinsey‚Äôs office. These neighborhood committees are an offshoot of the SR2S Task Forces. The Task Forces work on a district level to identify and address safety issues for all the schools. These committees are under the direction of the County Supervisors‚Äô aides and invite a larger audience to participate, especially neighborhood associations; they meet more frequently over a short period of time to develop neighborhood specific strategies at a grassroots level.
Support from our County Supervisors forwards the SR2S Task Force’s goal to prioritize safety concerns which require infrastructure changes and implementation of crossing guards.¬† Through this collaboration, parents can proactively seek changes, which enable students to continue their walking and biking independence, rather than reverting back to reliance on cars.
Too often, neighbors are pitted against interest groups and they all demand action from government. In these committees, all the stakeholders are working together. They share a common goal ‚Äď safety for the kids, for seniors, for pedestrian and bicyclists and, yes for motorists too. As more and more students and adults alike are choosing walking and biking for their transportation needs, the importance of conscious and alert behavior on the part of all users becomes more crucial. These Neighborhood Safety Committees are an important step in achieving that goal through grassroots education and essential infrastructure improvements. For more information contact Wendi Kallins Wkallins@igc.org