Safe Route to School bill aims to boost safety near all DC public schools

The D.C. Department of Transportation promised this week improved safety features outside a Northwest elementary school, a day after a boy was struck by a driver outside Truesdell Elementary School, in the Brightwood Park neighborhood.

The boy is recovering from his injuries.

Neighbors near the school, located on the 800 block of Ingraham Street, have been asking for more than three years for infrastructure improvements, including speed humps in front of the school and four-way stops at nearby intersections.

“We just had a young man hit … struck by a driver and now we’re getting all these things expedited. That can’t be it. We can’t expedite traffic infrastructure … after these crashes occur; we have to be proactive about it,” said Ward 4 Council member Janeese Lewis George.

Lewis George is the chief sponsor of the Safe Route to School bill, which faces a public hearing March 14. Her bill would beef up infrastructure and enforcement near all D.C. public and charter schools.

“We do that by actually requiring the Department of Transportation to install things like raised cross walks, curb extensions, speed bumps and flashing pedestrian signs near every school,” Lewis George said.

Her bill would also expand the length of school zones and add traffic enforcement cameras near schools.

“I understand why people are skeptical about traffic cameras, but this isn’t really about raising more money for the city, because the funds that comes from these cameras will be reinvested back into the communities by making these schools safer … and I think if we’re going to have traffic safety cameras anywhere in DC, shouldn’t they be placed near our schools to protect our vulnerable children?” said Lewis George.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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