What are the state guidelines for a Safe Walk?
The state guidelines use a point system for determining a Safe Walk for crossing or walking on a roadway or for crossing railroad tracks. Points are assigned based upon such factors as grade of student, location of walkways, traffic speed, traffic volume and length of a hazardous section. Judgment points can also be assigned for other hazards along the walk such as a ditch along a roadway. High point totals signify a possible unsafe walk condition. Some conditions result in an automatic determination of an unsafe walk condition regardless of the points.
What is an unsafe condition?
Unsafe conditions are defined as potential hazards (i.e. traffic speed, excessive traffic volume, lack of a walking path, lack of a stop light to cross a road, small width of road, etc.) that may occur walking on or along a roadway or crossing a roadway or railroad tracks. Other unsafe conditions may include walking in areas with poor social conditions such as drug/alcohol, sex offender/predator/street violence. Other conditions may qualify for review such as instances of significant student harassment and potentially dangerous animals.
How does the Safe Walk appeal process work?
Parents/guardians consult with the school’s Principal first. The Principal should explain the process, consult transportation policy, and discuss the issue with the Transportation Department if needed.
If no solution is found, a “Request for Review of Safe Walking Conditions” appeal form is initiated at the school and signed by the Principal. Forms are available at the school.
After review by the Principal, the formal appeal is sent to the Transportation Department for investigation. A review is made of the Safe Walk, which includes driving to the location and verifying distances, traffic patterns, lighting, walking paths, etc. State guidelines are used to perform the investigation. In some cases the Transportation Department may resolve the appeal by making a route adjustment or conferring with the parent/guardian on alternative transportation services which may currently be available.
The Safe Walk Committee meets and is presented the factual data based upon the investigation from a representative of the Transportation Department. Parents/guardians are advised of the time, date and place of the Safe Walk Committee meeting and are afforded an opportunity to state their case and circumstances in person.
The Safe Walk Committee makes a decision and the parents/guardians are informed via letter.
Who sits on the Safe Walk Committee?
The Safe Walk Committee is made up of independent members who are not part of the Transportation Department. It includes members of the Bellevue Police Department, a district safety representative, a City of Bellevue traffic engineer, and two Bellevue School District parents from the community at large.
What can I do if my appeal is denied by the Safe Walk Committee?
The School Board will only consider overturning a decision of the Safe Walk Committee in the event that there was a significant error in the implementation of the Safe Walk procedures or that new and compelling evidence has been discovered since the Committee’s decision. The School Board has directed the Safe Walk Committee to provide a fair, balanced, and thorough review of these appeals; and, therefore, the Board relies upon the greater experience and knowledge of the members of that Committee.