LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A grant to the Safe Kids Coalition of the La Crosse Coulee Region will help children walk and bike to school safely.
"In our community this is definitely needed," said Kim Lombard, Coordinator of Safe Kids Coalition of the La Crosse Coulee Region. "We've seen several, in the past couple months, injuries and deaths related to pedestrian VS motor vehicle crashes."
This competitive $25,000 grant is being awarded by Safe Kids USA and FedEx. The money will be used around Southern Bluffs Elementary School. This school was selected based on need with highway 53 safety a primary concern.
"Our goal really is to make some changes to the environment for children to be able to walk safely to school. Or for them to even be able to walk to school because there are some schools in our county and in our city that really aren't walk-able."
Worn out and confusing signs around Southern Bluffs Elementary confuse motorists and put children at risk. Rudy Umbs, Senior Traffic Safety Engineer and speaker at Wednesday's workshop, said this is one of the main issues the project will address.
"From and engineering standpoint," said Umbs. "That the infrastructure, that the sidewalks and signs and markings and signals are all appropriate. That they make sense and they do their job."
The goal of the project is to combine education, engineering and law enforcement in a way that is intuitive for motorists, safe for kids, and encourages walking and biking to school.
"There will be more signs and signals and markings to let people know where the school zones are," said Umbs. "People do not want, by nature, to go through a school zone in a hazardous manner. We just want to remind them to slow down."
Umbs said these measures have been effective in other areas across the country and has high hopes for the Southern Bluffs Elementary project.
Another workshop will be held tomorrow to decide the best use of grant money. Grant funded improvements at Southern Bluffs Elementary will continue through 2013.