Westchester Elementary, a City of Decatur school for grades kindergarten through third, recently reopened in 2014 after having been closed for over 10 years. It is located directly on Scott Boulevard, which is a major four-lane road with the highest speed limit in the City of Decatur. According to a recent article in Decaturish, a local news site, about 50% of speeding tickets issued in Decatur between January 2013 and April 2015 were on Scott.
Current pedestrian conditions along Scott Boulevard pose a threat to the safety of students walking and biking to and from Westchester Elementary. Despite numerous programs sponsored by the school system to encourage walking, parents are scared to walk their children to school along Scott for fear of serious injury. The sidewalks are narrow with little to no buffer between the sidewalk and the road. In addition, there is inadequate standing room at crosswalks for students waiting for the light to change.
In addition, these conditions are an issue for the entire community—not simply for school families. Improvements will help provide a safe walking environment along and across Scott, connecting the northwestern part of the city with downtown; reduce unwanted traffic and parking downtown as well as in nearby neighborhoods; and promote initiatives to make Decatur a more walkable city.
To foster change, Westchester Elementary’s School Leadership Team (SLT) formed a Safety Committee comprised of school leaders and parents. The committee has met routinely with officials of the City of Decatur and the Georgia Department of Transportation. Based on these meetings, the committee has created a recommended list of projects. (See http://westchester.csdecatur.net/SLT/SLT%20Safety%20School%20Board%20-%20FINAL.pdf
The City of Decatur and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) both recognize the need for improvements; however, funding availability is low. It is imperative that the City of Decatur, GDOT, and City Schools of Decatur have a prioritized plan of action to improve pedestrian safety along Scott. It will take the combined efforts of Westchester Elementary parents and community members to draw sufficient attention to the need for this plan and ensure the necessary funding is allocated to its implementation.
Please show your support by signing this petition. Thank you!The Westchester Elementary SLT Safety Committee