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Taking safer routes to school for kids

January 18, 2013 2:00:04 PM PST
You've probably seen them, wider sidewalks, brighter street signs. But do all these changes really mean anything when it comes to pedestrian safety? A recent study tried to answer that question .

Schools about to start and kids and parents are rushing to get there.

Five-year-old Bintou has to walk 15 minutes from the 2 train stop

To encourage more kids to walk to school, the Department of Transportation redesigned streets around schools nationwide, including more than 120 schools in New York City.

The safety measures include more visible cross walks, new crossing signals, timed lights and speed bumps.

"The kids won't get into accidents so that's good protect the kids," said Jessica Montolio.

It's all part of the National Safe Routes to School program, the goal is to stop kids from getting hit by cars through a concept called traffic calming.

A new study says it's working in places where safety changes were put in place, the annual rate of injury to school-age pedestrians age 5 to 19, went down by 44 percent.

Dr. Charles DiMaggio from Columbia University School of Public Health is lead author of the study.

"It's a concept of trying to tip the balance of rights in favor of pedestrians," he said.

At ps 123 on west 140th street, there are more signs, wider crosswalks, and wider sidewalks at the intersection. That's more room for pedestrians and less room for cars.

However, national funding for the program just ended. They may still get more funding through a new law to make more safety changes -but it's not clear yet how that will play out. For parents, there is an online guide on how to teach your kids to walk to school safely-- different advice for different age groups.

LINK: Guide for Parents: Teaching Children to Walk Safely as They Grow and Develop

LINK: Additional weblink: Safe Routes to School Program

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