Spearheaded by Christ the King School students, on Aug. 28, the administration will launch a series of new initiatives with local and statewide partners to improve safety at the school’s drop-off area and encourage more families to walk and bike to school.

During the past school year, sixth-grade students were invited to design solutions around the morning drop-off procedures on Killington Avenue. With support from the assistant principal and their Vermont Energy Education Program educator, students observed and documented the challenges with the current drop-off location. In the spring, a smaller group of students reviewed the evidence collected and engineered a solution for morning drop-off procedures including infrastructure changes.

The school and VEEP then reached out to statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, Local Motion, for assistance redesigning the intersection in front of the school to better serve those walking, biking and driving. Students presented the proposed plan to the town’s Traffic Safety Committee and were granted approval and support from the Department of Public Works.

Between Aug. 28 and Sept 7, the school and Local Motion will co-lead a pop-up demonstration project to temporarily test the new street changes using low-cost materials and to collect feedback that can help inform permanent improvements. Curb extensions will be installed to help slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety along Killington Avenue, and way-finding signage will help direct the flow of traffic through the parking area. The Town of Rutland and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission will support the project by restriping crosswalks, installing new signage and assisting with data collection. School families will be invited to help install the temporary improvements as part of a “community build” event on Aug. 28.

Students will present the plans for the re-configured street and drop-off area at the school’s parent information event and will help assist with directing traffic along the drop-off route during the first week of school.

In addition to the street improvements, Christ the King will install new bike racks and will have a free community workshop on Safe Family Bicycling on Aug. 28 in partnership with Local Motion to encourage more families to ride to school.

All activities mark the beginning of the school’s participation in the Way To Go (waytogovt.org) statewide school challenge program over the coming year, which incentivizes teachers, families and administrators to identify and promote safer routes to school.

For more information, contact Lila Millard at lmillard@cksrutland.org.