Altoona looks to make school routes safer

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Making sure our kids get to and from school safely is a concern for most parents.

That's why the City and School District of Altoona are looking into updating their safe routes to school plan.

Whether your child walks, bikes, is dropped off or takes the bus, many parents want to make sure it’s safe.

With the recent updates within the Altoona School District and the newly built elementary school, community leaders are looking to update their safe routes to school plan, which hasn't been updated in nearly 8 years.

“When you do a Safe Routes to School Plan for the community, it really turns into safe routes throughout the community for everybody,” explained Senior Planner Eric Anderson at West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. “It doesn't have to be just for kids, when you do it the right way, it’s something that anybody can use 7 days a week, 24 hours a day; they can bike or walk in a lot safer way.”

Altoona is working with the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, who wrote the original safe routes plan in 2008.

The new plan would be a 6-7 month process, and hopes to implement safe school route ideas by next summer before the new school year, especially in the area of the new elementary school.

“Sidewalks, just having sidewalks in the community and how to connect those form certain residential areas within a school,” Anderson said. “A lot of the newer schools are being built on the outskirts of a city or village, how do we get it so that kids feel comfortable biking or walking to school safely? And their parents, so their parents feel comfortable with biking or walking to school safely.”

Anderson says the most common safe route conclusions are more speed enforcement zones and sidewalks to schools.

The total cost for the plan is $24,000, paid for by the city, school district and Altoona Commission.

The Safe Routes to School Plan will be discussed at Thursday’s city council meeting to approve WCWRPC to write the plan.

If approved, the study will begin in January of 2017.

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