A grant in the amount of $6,000 has been awarded to the town for the use of improving the safety and visibility of students and caregivers walking to and from the Gorman Fort Banks (GFB) School. The funding will be used to install flashing crossing signs in both directions at the crosswalk that goes from the DPW side of Kennedy Drive to the Fort Banks side of the street. Out of the approximately 500 students that attend the GFB, an estimated 50 of them walk to school, and face the challenge of crossing high volumes of traffic on Kennedy Drive, often with limited visibility. The grant will also be used to add more upgraded, streamlined signage at the Kennedy Drive school entrance at Revere Street, providing more school visibility in the area and urging drivers to take caution.
The Sights and Lines grant opportunity came to the attention of parent and Chair of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), Julia Wallerce when it was first announced in early October. The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program provides design services in construction funding for low-cost infrastructure projects around public elementary and middle schools, including signage and pavement markings to improve safety and accessibility along walking and biking routes to schools.
“The location of the GFB school creates many access challenges, and this is particularly true for walkers. Anything we can do to make it safer and more convenient for kids to walk to school is a win for the entire community- especially for our youngest residents- and this grant does exactly that,” said Wallerce. “I’m grateful that Winthrop is a Safe Routes to School partner and hope we can take even greater advantage of the benefits and opportunities it offers like this one!”
Resident, parent and active community member, Kay O’Dwyer partnered with Wallerce to write the grant and School Superintendent Lisa Howard, Town Manager Austin Faison, DPW Director Steve Calla, Police Chief Terence Delehanty, all signed off on the project.
“We have applied for the Safe Routes to School Signs and Line Program Grant and are grateful to have received $6,000 in funding to be allocated for the purpose of updating signage to increase the visibility of key crossing sections on Kennedy Drive,” said School Superintendent Lisa Howard. “This grant funding will allow for new/updated signs to be purchased along Kennedy Drive, at no cost to the Town, and improve visibility for drivers as they travel on this heavily utilized road. The School Department will work closely with the DPW to determine the type and placement of the new signs to further support the safety of our students and families as they travel to and from the Gorman Fort Banks School.”