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Safe Routes to School

Children getting fitted for helmets.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federal program to improve the well-being of children by improving walking and bicycling conditions on the route to school and enabling and encouraging children to walk and bike these routes.

Milwaukee can be a great city for walking and bicycling due to its grid street system, compact neighborhoods, and sidewalk network. Many families live close to a neighborhood elementary school, and Milwaukee Public Schools provides school bus transportation to a wide variety of specialty schools across the City.

The City of Milwaukee is embarking on a new SRTS initiative, made possible by a federal grant and additional City funding for safety improvements near schools. The City’s initiative includes two approaches:

A City-level strategic SRTS plan:

  • The City-level plan will recommend changes to city and school district policies and procedures to promote walking and biking to school, improve coordination across agencies, and streamline processes to make it easier to identify and address safety concerns around schools.
  • The City-level plan will also work to identify how to save money by reducing MPS’ transportation costs and what kinds of funding programs might be available to pay for infrastructure improvements around schools.

Individual SRTS plans for 20 schools across the city:

  • The individual school SRTS plans will evaluate students’ walking and bicycling habits and the safety concerns in the surrounding neighborhood that prevent students from walking and biking to school.
  • Each school plan will recommend safety improvements, such as better sidewalks, street crossings, and speed limit enforcement.
  • Each school will select its own set of program strategies to encourage walking and bicycling and make it safer for children to walk and bike to school.
  • The City of Milwaukee is inviting schools to apply for an individual SRTS plan. If you are a parent, staff member, or community partner of a school that you think would benefit from a SRTS plan, ask your principal to email jhanni@milwaukee.gov

Completed Traffic Safety Projects near Milwaukee Schools

The following projects are a small selection of the types of projects that the City of Milwaukee has done to improve traffic safety near schools:

  • Curb extension at 10th Street and Center Street, near North Division High School
  • High-Visibility crosswalk and overhead pedestrian sign at Oakland Avenue and Newberry Blvd, near Riverside University High School.
  • Curb extensions at Forest Home Avenue and 41st Street, near Manitoba Elementary School
  • Pedestrian refuge islands at Lincoln Avenue and 8th Street, near St. Josephat Parish School
  • Traffic circle at N 16th Street and Hadley Street, near Hopkins Lloyd Community School.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Education at Schools

If you would like to request bicycle and pedestrian education at your school, you can contact Jake Newborn (jake.newborn@wisconsinbikefed.org) at the Wisconsin Bike Fed. The Bike Fed has worked with Milwaukee Public Schools to offer bicycle and pedestrian safety education and encouragement programs in Milwaukee-area schools since 2004.