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By Jorge Casuso
March 6, 2019 -- It may not be election time, but signs will sprout on lawns across Santa Monica this month.
The City, in partnership with local schools, is distributing 2,000 lawn signs to Santa Monica households as part of a broader citywide initiative called “Take the Friendly Road,” City officials announced Wednesday.
"The lawn signs are a practical tool to encourage all road users to model safe travel behaviors including looking out for one another and driving at neighborhood-appropriate speeds," officials said.
An estimated one-third of students walk to Santa Monica schools and more than half of the city's residents walk and bike every day, according to data compiled by the City.
Data also show that nearly 40 percent of residents reported they feel "uncomfortable navigating Santa Monica’s streets."
The highest rate of collisions happens during the afternoon rush hour, "when many students are walking home from after-school activities," officials said.
Teachers and crossing guards are "great resources" but they are not enough to help ensure safety, said Cory Keen, the City's Safe Routes to School Coordinator.
"They are only able to keep an eye on the intersections and locations closest to the school,” Keen said. “We need to reach further.
"Our entire city should be seen as a safety-first zone," Keen said. "With schools located in every neighborhood and students walking everyday, we have a role to play in advocating for safety everywhere.”
“Take the Friendly Road, officials said, ”is part of the City’s commitment to eliminating all fatal and severe injury crashes by 2026 through education, infrastructure and enforcement.
"It is an opportunity to think holistically, and optimistically, about supporting safe streets throughout Santa Monica."
The signs will be distributed through Santa Monica’s public elementary schools, as well as some private schools.
Interested individuals can also email Cory Keen to receive one at Cory.Keen@smgov.net.
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