Safe Routes to School
The Safe Routes to School Action Team is working to make it safer for children to walk and bicycling to school by addressing the six Es – education, encouragement, equity, evaluation, engagement and engineering. The top three concerns that parents have identified: the speed of traffic, amount of traffic and uncontrolled intersections.
Center Street and Garden Street Engineering Study
In February 2023, the New Ulm City Council authorized a request for proposals to conduct an engineering study and concept design for the Center Street and Garden Street intersection near the high school. The intersection has been long identified as a difficult crossing for vehicles and pedestrians during the morning and afternoon when school is in session. The complex intersection serves as a barrier to people accessing important amenities located within walking distance of each of its four corners, including the high school, baseball park, Brown County Community Services, the recreation center, residences, Martin Luther College and, up the hill, the iconic Hermann Heights Monument.
The Safe Routes to School Team, City of New Ulm Safety Commission and the Heart of New Ulm have all identified the intersection as a safety priority. Read more in The Journal.
New Traffic Safety Playground!
The New Ulm Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Action Team completed a new Safety Traffic Playground outside New Ulm Middle School in August 2022 with the help of volunteers who spent more than 200 hours painting the pavement. The mini-street painted play space provides children and families a fun space to practice safe walking, bicycling and scooting skills away from traffic. No real cars are allowed.
The playground was made possible by a grant from the MNDOT’s SRTS Boost funding initiative. Learn more
Why Walk or Bicycle to School?
The Benefits of Safe Routes to School (SRTS)
SRTS is more than just a program — it is a comprehensive strategy to instill lifelong habits that support physical activity and health. Walking and bicycling to school helps families stay active and healthy, and kids arrive focused and ready to learn. A comprehensive and effective SRTS initiative can help create a healthier community for generations to come.
Kids are More Active
SRTS programs help kids get more physical activity. Children are recommended to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Walking or bicycling to or from school usually gives children an additional 20 to 40 minutes of activity per day (or 1/3 – 2/3 of their daily recommended amount).
Students Arrive Ready to Learn
Research has shown that SRTS helps kids arrive to school focused and ready to learn. Getting activity through walking and bicycling helps reduce behavior problems and helps kids settle in for learning during the school day. Research shows that extra focus and behavioral control in the classroom has led to higher test scores for regular walkers and bicyclists.
Communities Become Safer for All
Because schools are often located at the center of communities, safety improvements benefit people of all ages. Seniors particularly benefit from improvements that slow traffic and make streets safer and can also benefit by volunteering to support educational and promotional activities.
Families are More Active, Too
SRTS programs have been found to increase bicycling and walking for not only kids, but for the whole family.
Walk to School Day
Every year in the Spring and the Fall, New Ulm Schools participate in International Walk to School Day. The Walk to School Day event helps promote safer routes for students who walk or bicycle in our community. It also helps to promote physical activity for our students, and build connections between our families, schools and community.
To help ensure everyone’s safety on New Ulm’s sidewalks and streets, and encourage people to make smart decisions when encountering people walking and riding their bicycles, the SRTS Action Team in 2021 conducted a 10-month long public safety campaign. The campaign reminded people to SEE people walking and bicycling, act SAFE, and be SMART. Each month, a different safety message reminded people to be aware of and alert to people who are out walking and bicycling in the community — especially kids. The safety messages featured photos of kids and adults from New Ulm and highlight specific problem areas.
Additional Resources and Information
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