Safe Routes to School Improvements Begin Throughout Town

In January, Collingswood began roadway and walkability improvements with funding from a federal Safe Route to Schools (SRTS) grant totaling approximately $900,000. The project includes work that improves the quality of walking and cycling in the Borough, especially in neighborhoods around schools. Initiatives of the SRTS program include safety education, tools and programs that promote physical activity among people of all physical capabilities.

Collingswood’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) construction is the culmination of a six-year long effort between local, State and Federal partners to design and implement improvements throughout the Borough. Collingswood is one of the first municipalities in the state to receive and implement an SRTS grant.

The Safe Routes to School movement aims to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school. The first federally funded SRTS program was created in 2005 and has since grown to benefit more than 14,000 schools in all 50 states. SRTS focuses on the six E’s: evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and equity. As a municipality committed to continued improvement in these areas, the SRTS model is a welcome and natural fit to Collingswood.

“Improving the walkability of the Borough is a top priority of myself and Commissioners Leonard and Lewandowski. We believe that safe, accessible walkways for our neighbors are an essential part of the Collingswood landscape as a neighborhood and as a destination town,” said Mayor Jim Maley.

The project is divided into three phases. Phase 1, which began in January, tackles ADA compliance, new crosswalks utilizing thermoplastic crosswalk striping and curb cuts along Maple, Lincoln and Atlantic Avenues. Phase 2 includes similar work along Washington Ave, Dill Ave, Stokes Ave and Lees Lane.  Phase 3 will focus on the addition of a traffic calming bump out at Haddon and Homestead Aves. Neighborhood meetings will be scheduled for each phase of the project so residents can get information about project impact and timelines. More information can be viewed on the Municipal Projects Information Center here as well.

Executing a federal grant takes considerable planning and coordination to ensure all guidelines in place for grant approval are followed while maintaining the Collingswood aesthetic and tackling multiple areas benefitting from road and walkway improvements.

“These seemingly small changes have a major impact on both our safety and quality of life,” said Commissioner Rob Lewandowski. “Upgrading infrastructure is not merely about asphalt and concrete, it is about people and improving their ability to connect with each other, to attend school, and to enjoy our parks and downtown.” 

Recently, the Borough received Bronze Level recognition for our SRTS initiatives from Cross County Connection TMA, a non-profit working with communities to find solutions to transportation issues. Collingswood also completed the Connect 2020 study which was funded by a Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission grant to create a Collingswood and Haddon Township Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The results of that study, which was created with significant public input, helped secure a grant from Cross County Connection for thermoplastic crosswalk striping and will be use to apply for additional grant funding that supports the development a multi-modal bicycle and pedestrian network.