What is the Walk Your Way Project?
The Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation launched the Walk Your Way Project last year as part of an initiative to educate high school students about the importance of pedestrian safety. The county awarded up to $2,000 to teams of high school students for creating, designing and implementing a pedestrian safety education program at their high school. Projects ranged from painting sidewalks, to designing and distributing posters and other materials, to holding a school wide assembly.
Grants were awarded to Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, Northwood High School, Richard Montgomery High School, Wheaton High School, and the Leaders Institute.
How To Apply?
Your group can apply for grant funds to be used during the 2015-2016 school year! To be eligible for this project grant, students must work in groups of two or more, and have the support of at least one teacher or staff supervisor. Interested students should fill out and submit the application. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered to 100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. If you have any questions regarding the application or the Pedestrian Safety Initiative please contact Nadji Kirby at email@example.com.
Projects have included:
For a more extensive list of ideas check out the county’s resource kit.
Why is this important?
Unsafe pedestrian habits amongst teenagers like walking against lights, crossing in the middle of intersections, and texting or wearing headphones while crossing busy streets, are becoming a growing factor in pedestrian collisions across the county. The Safe Kids Worldwide report found one in five high school students crossed the street distracted. Most often these students were texting and using headphones. With successful education efforts already implemented at Blair High School and at Seneca Valley High School, Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County Department of Transportation are teaming up to continue educating our high school students about safe pedestrian behavior.
Moreover, through a joint engineering, education and enforcement effort, Montgomery County’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative has drastically reduced the number of pedestrian collisions, especially severe collisions, across the county. Since implementing the Initiative in 2007, the rate of serious pedestrian collisions has dropped from 29% to 19%. However, to continue making our county safer for both pedestrians and drivers, we need to continue educating our residents, especially our youth. The 2013 Teens and Distraction Research Report by Safe Kids Worldwide found older teens account for 50% of all pedestrian deaths amongst children 19 and under, and found a 25% increase in pedestrian injuries amongst 16-19 over the last five years.
So make a difference—get a team together and start developing your school project to raise awareness of good walking behaviors! If you need financial resources to get your project off the ground, apply for a Walk Your Way grant.