Traffic Safety Project Expands to East Contra Costa County to Protect Children
For release June 14, 2005
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Contra Costa County's Injury Prevention Program has selected two Bay Point elementary schools for a traffic safety education project after a study revealed children in the area are at risk of being hit by cars.
Posters promoting "Street Smarts" - a traffic safety education campaign - recently went up at the BART station in Bay Point as part of the county's expansion of the project into East County. Moviegoers also will see Street Smarts on the big screen at Brenden Theaters in Pittsburg.
The traffic study was done to identify Bay Point "hot spots" - areas with a higher rate of collisions between automobiles and pedestrians or bicyclists. The project will focus on the area around Shore Acres and Rio Vista elementary schools because of the risk to children, said Nancy Baer, manager of Contra Costa County's Injury Prevention Projects.
"We are particularly concerned about the welfare and safety of children," Baer said.
After selecting the project location, Injury Prevention Project staff and community volunteers studied driver and pedestrian behavior in more detail - and learned that both motorists and children were ignoring traffic laws. Drop off and pick up times at the schools are particularly risky.
Over the summer, Contra Costa Public Works Department will work with schools to re-route drop off and pick up traffic. When school begins in the fall, traffic safety education efforts will teach children about pedestrian and bicycle safety. The California Highway Patrol also will increase traffic enforcement in the area, Baer said.
"We believe doing education and enforcement together will help reduce the number of collisions near these schools and prevent injury and even death," Baer said.
The first of its kind in the East Bay, the Street Smarts campaign was launched last year in West Contra Costa County to educate residents about traffic safety issues, including stop sign, traffic light and school zone compliance and teen DUI and speeding. A $10,000 grant from the Keller Canyon fund and the support of County Supervisor Federal Glover's Office made it possible to expand the program to East County, Baer said. Street Smarts was developed by the City of San Jose and the program won the 2004 Pedestrian Projects award from the National Institute of Transportation Engineers.
Other Street Smarts campaign partners also include the Bay Point Municipal Advisory Committee, Healthy Neighborhoods Project, Bay Point Partnership, Contra Contra County Public Works and Contra Costa Community Development Department.
For more information about Street Smarts, call Nancy Baer at 925-313-6837 or visit: cchealth.org/services/street_smarts/
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- Nancy Baer