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Safe Routes to School

Overview - Safe Routes to School

The City of Tacoma has created a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to promote safer walking and bicycling routes for K-12 students.  With this program we hope to empower students and parents to feel comfortable walking or bicycling to school, which in turn should encourage children to lead more active and healthier lifestyles.


The City has worked with the community to build a comprehensive Safe Routes to School program which uses these six key elements: 

  • Equity - Equity is a consideration for all SRTS activities, ensuring that all residents have access to and can take advantage of the resources provided through the program. This includes low-income and multi-cultural communities. 
  • Education - A key piece to the SRTS program is education within the community.  Efforts are made to reach out to families informing them of various transportation choices, walking and biking safety skills and driver safety campaigns.
  • Engineering - As a result of the evaluation process, some of the concerns that come to light are related to the design of streets and intersections as well as the lack of sidewalks or crosswalks in certain areas. Engineering addresses the physical environment around schools to create safe and accessible places for walking and biking.
  • Encouragement - Ongoing special events and programs help to encourage parents and children to walk, bike or skate to school.  Some current programs include Walk or Bike to School Day, Walking School Bus and Park & Walk to school.
  • Enforcement - Safer traffic conditions help parents to feel comfortable about their children walking and biking to school. Enforcement can work to ensure that traffic laws are obeyed in school vicinities using various methods, including enforcing traffic violations, enforcement of speeds and yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Evaluation - In order to implement and build upon our SRTS program, data  collection using various methods such as surveys of parents, student in-class tallies and other effective strategies is important.

SRTS Program Documents

We have the following finalized documents available for reference and viewing.

  • 2017 SRTS Action Plan - this plan is the result of a collaboration between the Project Management Team and the Stakeholder Committee to come up with visions, goals and actions for the Tacoma SRTS program.
  • 2017 SRTS Program Toolkit - the Toolkit details specific SRTS activities that have been successful in schools around the country and can be adopted for local use.
  • 2017 SRTS Walking School Bus - implemented successfully in many schools throughout the country this is a step-by-step guide to starting a Walking School Bus or Bike Train program.  

SRTS Resources and Information

Engineering - School Infrastructure Updates

We are happy to announce that the following schools have received federal funding through the Safe Routes to School program.


Amount Awarded
Project Description
Estimated Award date
Estimated Completion
First Creek Middle School SRTS  $318,885 Improvements will include high-intensity activated crosswalk beacons signal, flashing beacons, sidewalk, crosswalk, and signs.  February 2018 July 2019
Lister Elementary School SRTS  $450,115 Improvements will include sidewalk, curb, gutter, crosswalk, ADA complaint curb ramps, flashing beacons, curb extensions, safety education & encouragement for HAWK signal use. February 2018 August 2019


In addition to the schools listed above, the City will be working on improvements to Blix and Stanley Elementary Schools with an expected completion in 2019.


Be Informed, Get Involved

You can contact City Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Carrie Wilhelme by email with questions, concerns or comments.