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Reading, Safe Routes to Schools, DePaola, January 24, 2013MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola joined Reading local and school officials and parents for a ribbon cutting and student presentation to celebrate completion of pedestrian access and safety improvements surrounding the W.S. Parker Middle School campus.

The project was made possible by MassDOT using federal Safe Routes to School funds.

“MassDOT is committed to maintaining and constructing a safe and reliable roadway network for all its users. We are focused not only on drivers but also on the safety of bicyclists and even the youngest pedestrians,” said DePaola.

W.S. Parker Middle School’s new and enhanced infrastructure improves access and safety for students that walk and bike to school. MassDOT engineers constructed several hundred feet of new sidewalk and buffers along Washington Street. The project also included 650 feet of new sidewalk along Sunnyside Avenue, new wheelchair ramps, pavement markings, and traffic and pedestrian warning signs.

W.S. Parker Middle School students also participated in the new Safe Routes to School PhotoVoice® initiative in which they presented photos showing personal experiences walking and biking to school, including how MassDOT’s infrastructure improvements improved pedestrian safety in their community.  

W.S. Parker Middle School is one of 575 Massachusetts schools participating in MassDOT’s Safe Routes to School program.  Participating elementary and middle schools located in 165 communities throughout the Commonwealth receive year-round pedestrian and bicycle safety education instruction as well as engagement initiatives tailored to meet each school’s physical fitness, safety and environmental priorities.

To find out how your school can become a Safe Routes to School Partner, contact Samantha Fonseca-Moreira, samantha.fonseca-moreira@state.ma.us or visit Safe Routes to School on the web.

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