Submitted by Child Care Action Council

After the community’s reception following the installment of the first traffic garden at Mountain View Elementary last year, Thurston County has added one more safety learning opportunity for young pedestrians and bicyclists.

The major objective of the new Traffic Garden is to provide almost 350 students at McKenny Elementary the opportunity to practice reading signs and performing road maneuvers in a low-risk, low-stress environment. Students will receive direct safety curriculum during gym classes while using the Traffic Garden. These classes will help form safety knowledge and active habits on how to navigate roadways safely. Families can access the garden after school hours to practice safety skills in a fun, safe environment.

A Traffic Garden provides many benefits. The space provides children a reduced-size version of the public street networks they will encounter, whether biking or walking, which they can maneuver through safely in absence of motored vehicles. The Traffic Garden will provide the school with a resource, create a public recreation site for families, and can help reinvigorate the neighborhood as an educational and public art piece. Many child cyclists do not know the rules of the road; and unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. for children ages 5 to 19.

“Children who learn to navigate roads as pedestrians and cyclists become drivers who watch for, and respect, the pedestrians and cyclists with whom they will share the road,” said Danielle King, Safe Kids Thurston County Coordinator with the Child Care Action Council.

The McKenny Elementary Traffic Garden is the result of a partnership between Child Care Action Council’s Safe Kids Thurston County and Intercity Transit’s Walk and Roll program, in conjunction with Olympia Police Department’s Community Volunteer and Involvement Committee, Target Zero Thurston County, and the Olympia School District. Both Mountain View and McKenny Traffic Gardens were funded by State Farm, and made possible through volunteer efforts from members of the community who helped with design and painting of the projects.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email