Eyes Up, Slow Down: New Lawn Signs Encourage Safe Driving in Santa Monica’s Neighborhoods and School Areas

The City of Santa Monica is empowering students and families to be community advocates and “Take the Friendly Road”

March 6, 2019

Eyes Up, Slow Down: New Lawn Signs Encourage Safe Driving in Santa Monica’s Neighborhoods and School Areas

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — This month, the City of Santa Monica is distributing 2,000 lawn signs to households citywide as part of a broader citywide initiative called “Take the Friendly Road.” In partnership with local schools and the City’s Safe Routes to Schools program, 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.

Santa Monica is an active community, with more than half of residents walking and biking every day, and an estimated one-third of students walk to school. Even with helmets or careful crossing, our youth are no match to speeding or distracted drivers. That’s why, in the areas surrounding Santa Monica’s schools, it’s especially important to prioritize safety.

“Our teachers and crossing guards are great safety resources for students and parents, but they are only able to keep an eye on the intersections and locations closest to the school,” said Cory Keen, the City's Safe Routes to School Coordinator. “We need to reach further; our entire city should be seen as a safety-first zone. With schools located in every neighborhood and students walking everyday, we have a role to play in advocating for safety everywhere.”

Close to 40% of residents reported that they feel uncomfortable navigating Santa Monica’s streets, and the highest rate of collisions happens during the afternoon rush hour, when many students are walking home from after-school activities. “Take the Friendly Road” 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. One way the City is doing this is by posting active reminders, like these lawn signs, to encourage those who are driving to practice safe behavior.

“Take the Friendly Road is a call for all of us to pay attention to our actions, and the very real consequences of unsafe behavior, whether we’re behind the wheel or walking down the street,” said Francie Stefan, Acting Chief Mobility Officer for the City of Santa Monica. “We want to encourage all of our students to get outside and to feel safe when biking, walking, skating, or scooting in the neighborhood… and for parents to feel confident too. 

Thanks to family-friendly bike rides like Kidical Mass, bike safety skills trainings with Santa Monica Spoke and community events like COAST, Santa Monica’s youngest residents are provided multiple opportunities throughout the year to gain the knowledge and techniques of safe behavior from an early age. Through this lawn sign campaign, families and neighbors are provided another opportunity to talk to each other about how they can be local safety advocates.

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.

To find out more about the City’s effort to bring safety education to our students and to find out more about the City’s commitment to eliminating fatal and severe injury crashes from our streets, go to www.santamonica.gov/friendlyroad.

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