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:
- Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School: Students distributed bracelets during lunch periods with the safety messages Jaywalk or nah? Nah and Don’t use a crosswalk? Smh (which means shaking my head). They also made announcements about pedestrian safety.
- Northwood High School: With the help of an artist, students created a sidewalk art piece with a pedestrian safety message.
- Richard Montgomery High School: As part of their Safe or Sorry campaign students focused on pedestrian safety, driver safety and internet safety. They created a video, held emotional assemblies and distributed giveaways to enhance safety, including reflective buttons and t-shirts.
- Wheaton High School: To improve safety during construction activity that restricted access around the school, students printed two large maps of the school area outlining construction zones and hazardous areas that were off-limits. They also installed red tape to warn distracted students away from dangerous areas.
- The Leaders Institute, a youth-serving nonprofit organization comprised of students attending Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School: Students performed a skit they wrote during the lunch period that focused on pedestrian safety by demonstrating how making one bad decision to text and walk can ultimately result in getting hit and injured or killed by a car. During the skit they also discussed pedestrian safety statistics, asked questions of the audience, and gave out prizes. Students also received training by County staff to conduct a crosswalk simulation activity for elementary school students at Healthy Kids Day and the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School 5k Race.
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.
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Edison Park Office · Montgomery County Department of Transportation
100 Edison Park, 4th Floor · Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878 · firstname.lastname@example.org
· telephone: 240-777-7170 · fax: 240-777-7178 ·