Safe routes to school in Chippewa Valley

CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (WEAU) -- The school year is just around the corner, but do you know the safest route for your child to walk or bike to school? Partners in the Chippewa Valley have created safe school routes for kids to help parents and students feel at ease.

Whether its 2 miles or 2 blocks away, students will soon begin their journey back to school. "We're trying to keep routes safe for students to walk and bike to school and promote that activity as well,” said Leah Ness the Eau Claire Deputy City Engineer.

The Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Altoona school districts are implementing safety school routes again for the upcoming school year. "We have deemed safe routes to school so parents know exactly how to get their kids here safely on foot or on two wheels,” said Altoona Superintendent, Dan Peggs.

The cities have teamed up with the school district to make any possible changes. "Improve signage, crosswalk locations, if we can improve crossings,” Ness said. While there are no big changes for 2019-2020 school year, their goal remains the same. "Just keeping pedestrian traffic and walking and biking access kind of at the forefront,” said Chad Trowbridge, the executive director of business services for Chippewa Falls School District.

After completing walk audits, hearing parent concerns and quite a bit of research, the routes are mapped out and set to go. "Giving parents some comfort that those routes, although they might not always be ideal are the safest routes for their kids to travel,” Trowbridge said.

They are helping not only the student pedestrians but the drivers as well. "It brings the traffic congestion down here significantly so as you start to see more kids bike and walk you start to see less cars dropping off and that makes this safer,” Peggs added.

They are promoting a healthy lifestyle all while keeping the kids safe. "The really nice part about our safe routes to school collaboration in the Chippewa Valley is to make sure we all learn from each other, we learn what best practices are,” Trowbridge said.

The Eau Claire Area School District will release the safe school routes on their website starting August 26.

For Altoona safety school routes click here.

For Chippewa Falls safety school routes click here.