Student Safe Route Stories Building a Child Friendly Milwaukee

5 class rooms participated in the Safe Routes to School Workshop in January of 2020.

Their week long curriculum culminated in students presenting their persuasive essays for their street plan to Alderperson Perez and other district, city, and community leaders.

It was a fun and joyous occasion; with adult leaders helping reading the students own words.

The following are excerpts from some of their plans for infrastructure and community development.

Dear DPW,

In this letter, I'm going to tell you the reasons we want to have safer routes in our school.

There are some streets that should be fixed for the safety of the students at Lincoln Avenue School and for the safety of pedestrians, bikers, and also for cars.

Lincoln Avenue is a very busy street because of the school. That makes a lot of traffic. People want to leave fast and they start to speed. We decided to add 4 high visibility crosswalks and an in-street pedestrian crossing sign in the middle of the 4 high visibility crosswalks. Cars will know that pedestrians pass through there and that they need to be aware. Car drivers will know that there is a school and that they pass a lot of pedestrians in that area. We also decided to put a crossing island because maybe there's a car letting the pedestrian cross but maybe the one at the other side does not. The pedestrian can wait on the crossing island until someone lets them cross safely.

These are some of the few traffic devices that I think will help these streets be safer for everyone. Hopefully our streets will become safer with these changes. I hope that this school becomes safer later in time.


Britley Rojas

If you travel through 19th and Grant St. you will see it is also one of the streets that pedestrians use to get to school. If they are walking, in a car, or in any other types of transportation they should want this street to be safer. On this street, the cars go at high speeds. To stop this speeding there should be a traffic circle. If there is a traffic circle on this street, when cars are coming to school they will have to slow down because the traffic circle is going to be there. It will be safer for everybody. Between this street and the 18th St. and Lincoln Ave there should be an in-street pedestrian crossing sign. If there is an in-street pedestrian crossing sign, cars will slow down when they are close to the school and it will be safer for all the community. If these changes are being added, it will make our community safer and also cleaner because people are not going to use their cars and there would not be as much pollution. All cars will drive slower and pay more attention to see if pedestrians are crossing or not and this will also decrease the chances of car crashes.

If all of these changes happen our school community will be safer for all pedestrians. These are some of the few traffic controls that I think will help the community around the school. I hope all streets that are close to our school become safer for all pedestrians.

Thank you for your consideration,

Milzy De La Cruz

Dear DPW

I see drivers almost running over crossing guards and other people. Street school signs are ignored. Pedestrians are in danger because the cars pass so fast and the people do not have respect.

At 18th and Lincoln Avenue there needs to be 4 high visibility crosswalks. Four high visibility crosswalks because we want the people to slow down and the students can be more safe.These high visibility crosswalk signs are necessary because I’ve seen parents, students, and even the crossing guard in accidents because drivers ignore the school sighs. That can be dangerous for the students.

Another street close to the school is 20th. A traffic circle will force drivers to slow their speed. Pedestrians can cross the street safely. This corner at 20th Grant has a history of frequent accidents. It's important that students and parents crossing the streets feel safe in our neighborhood.

Thank you for your consideration,

Adriana Ramirez

Dear Department of Public Works,

I want safer routes for walkers, bikers, and drivers to get to Lincoln Avenue School. It affects me because there could be an accident or worse and me or someone in my school could get injured.

My group wants the intersection of 18th and Lincoln to be safer. Cars do not pay attention to pedestrians. My team added 4 high visibility crosswalks and 2 crossing islands. These would make it safer because when people walk in the high visibility crosswalks cars would see them and the cars would stop. My classmates and I went to the high visibility crosswalk to be 3-dimensional. The crossing island would help because pedestrians would have a bigger space to protect them, giving them a safer chance to cross.

My team wants 19th and Lincoln to be safer because the streets do not line up. There is a bigger risk of getting hit when pedestrians try to cross. We added 2 high visibility crosswalks for pedestrians to cross in. The cars would be better able to see where people are crossing and where the streets are. The crosswalks would make it safer.

One of my classmates lives on 20th and Lincoln. We added a crossing island because it would prevent the cars from speeding. My classmate goes on the walking school bus. It is dangerous for them to cross the road. The pedestrian island will make their walk to school safer.

Please help us make changes that will make the roads near and around Lincoln Avenue School safer.

Thank you for helping us,

Cristian Perez

Dear [Department of Public Works],

I want safer routes for walkers, bikers, and drivers to get to Lincoln Avenue School. The speeding on Lincoln Avenue is unacceptable because it's a school zone where families live and kids walk to school. I live right across the street from Lincoln Avenue School and I cross the street everyday to come to and from school. We need a consistent crossing guard that comes everyday and more ways to force drivers to slow down.

These are the streets that our group identified as the top 3 in need of improvements that have the biggest problems for our environment. 18th and Lincoln Avenue is the street we really need to focus on because of all the people who cross in that intersection and cars pull up to drop off their kids for school. 19th and Lincoln is also an area of concern because that's where I live and I hear a lot of squealing because cars are going too fast and when they want to stop there, they mess up their tires. I think we need to put a speed hump there because it will stop people from zooming down the intersection. 18th and Hayes is the last intersection of concern because there is a lot of traffic that we need to stop. That's where parents come out from dropping off their kids and picking them up from school.

Here are the infrastructures me and my group picked to help make those streets safer. We would like the city to put down some curb extensions on the corner of 18th and Lincoln so we can have less traffic and car crashes. In my neighborhood, I see a lot of drivers swooping around each other and if they do, they’re going to drive across the rocky path and their tires will be messed up. We would also like the city to put in a 3-D optical illusion high visibility crosswalk on Lincoln Avenue where 19th Street intersects because the crosswalk was fading away due to all the cars that drive over it everyday . 19th and Lincoln is where I live, that's why I want them to think they’re running into a piece of wood instead of me. Finally, we would like a traffic circle put up on 19th street where it intersects with Hayes. There are stop signs on 19th Street, but not on Hayes. So many cars drive through the alley there and out of the teacher’s parking lot. There are so many parents leaving with their kids in cars too. Some kids walk that way to go home too. We need a traffic circle so we won't have car crashes and people getting run over.

I think the [DPW] should pick my group's plan because we'll make our neighborhood a better and safer place. It won't just make it better for walkers and bikers, but for everybody because everybody needs to achieve their goal and you can't do that if the environment is not safe. Kids need to go to school. Someone using cell phones or speeding while driving is not acceptable and gets in the way when harming someone’s life.

In conclusion, the area needs a change and we are the ones who are going to change it. [DPW] thank you for this opportunity to let the environment be a better place for us kids and even adults.


Marcus J.

Enter Mike the Chicken

Partnering with Department of City Development at Zablocki School on Envision 13th

"Mike the Chicken" makes his first appearance at the Zablocki Community School Drive/Walk thru Winter Wonderland Event.

The character is being used to keep students engaged virtually and ultimately acquire youth voice for the Envision 13th Neighborhood Plan.

The work of the Zablocki Community School Leadership Team has made this collaboration with DCD possible. Together with the support of SSCHC and dedicated work of The Wisconsin Bike Fed's SRTS team we launched a series of Child Friendly City lessons.

Attendance has been near perfect for all students on the Zablocki Green Team during our 6 classes to date.

Each week the students choose an absurd activity for Mike The Chicken to perform. Highlights have included grocery shopping and eating ice cream covered in hot sauce.

Each weeks lesson plan has been building the third graders knowledge and understanding of mobility in their community. Their lessons included a "Mike the Chicken" photo safari and a creative memory building exercise called "Place-It." Their submissions to these projects are currently being stitched into a graphic quilt, which will be printed and displayed in the community.

Our budding Junior Urbanists of the Green Team helped the Bike Fed's Safe Routes instructors craft messages for both people driving and people walking. These ideas are currently being composed into street safety signs which also promote Envision 13th.

Next week the students will take turns sharing during our final session with the Green Team in the service of Envision 13. The Wisconsin Bike Fed has other exciting efforts continuing at Zablocki. Later in March we will be launching a bi-weekly community walk.

Students will have more opportunities to send Mike the Chicken out on assignment.


Michael Anderson, Regina Stieber