August 16, 2022
Students in Rantoul now join those in Champaign, Urbana, Savoy, and Thomasboro in having access to the safest routes to walk or bike between their homes and their schools. That’s because the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Maps, or Safe Walking Route Maps, have been updated for the 2022-23 school year by the Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS).
CUUATS has now produced the SRTS maps for 35 years, working with the Champaign Unit #4 School District, Urbana School District #116, Thomasboro School District #130, and now Rantoul City School District #137 to make sure the maps are accurate and beneficial to families. Students, parents, and school personnel can find the 2022 Safe Walking Route Map guidebook on the RPC’s website.
“The purpose of the SRTS maps is to provide safe routes for children to walk or bike between home and school,” says Gabe Lewis, a pedestrian and bicycle planner at the RPC. “The safe routes promote the use of sidewalks, crosswalks, and crossing guards when available in neighborhoods near schools.”
Lewis points out that the SRTS maps focus on the neighborhoods around each public elementary and middle school in the four districts, but if families live further from their schools, additional features are noted to encourage them to park and walk to school. These features include parks near schools where families can park and walk to school, or other designated Park & Walk locations, such as churches.
Maps are also available in Spanish for schools with a large bilingual population. These include Booker T. Washington Elementary, Edison Middle School, and Garden Hills Elementary in Champaign; Eastlawn Elementary in Rantoul; and Dr. Williams Elementary and Leal Elementary in Urbana.
In addition to the SRTS maps, the website offers walking and bicycling safety tip sheets reminding walkers, bikers, and drivers about the behaviors that will keep everyone safe between home and school. Some of the individual school maps also include the rules about walking and bicycling to that school. Lewis says families are encouraged to, if possible, use the maps to try walking or bicycling to their school before the school year starts to see what route works best for them.
CUUATS staff analyzed several factors to determine the designated safe routes, including sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian-related signage, presence of adult crossing guards, the number of lanes crossed, traffic volumes, stoplights or stop signs, and posted speed limits.