The Walking Detective™ teaches kids about the built environment, provides a tool for them to evaluate the walkability of their community and empowers them to advocate for change. Andrea Clark, who created the guide, talked with some KCK students as they walked to school.
Every Wednesday morning, teachers from Frank Rushton Elementary School and volunteers from Rosedale Development Association meet a group of students in front of a colorful mural to walk to school. I joined them this Walking Wednesday to talk about how the built environment affects their ability to walk and bike safely.
For a long time there were no sidewalks along Mission Road, and pedestrians had to walk in the grass along the busy street. The new sidewalks and traffic calming elements, including the median, crosswalk and pedestrian signs, were installed to give kids a safe crossing from the neighborhood to Rosedale Park.
Many areas in the neighborhood don’t have sidewalks, so the kids have to walk in the street. They walk on the left side of the street so oncoming traffic can see them.
As the kids wind through the neighborhood, they stop to pick up their friends.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk to school, giving teachers, volunteers and students time to talk along the way.
We stopped to talk about tactile warning surfaces, or plastic bumpy strips, which warn people with visual impairments that they are approaching the street.
At one point, we had to move off of the sidewalk and into the street because the sidewalk was covered with water and mud.
There is a crossing signal at this crosswalk that stops traffic so kids can safely cross the street to school. The flashing school zone signs tell traffic to slow down and watch for pedestrians.
Once we arrived, the teachers and students headed inside to eat breakfast and get ready for the school day. Each student received The Walking Detective™ kid’s workbook, so they can continue to investigate the walkability of their communities.