Safe Routes Scoop
Simple and Safe Ways to Stroll to School

Safe Corridors
Safe Corridors, sometimes called “safe havens,” are locations along school walking routes where children can seek assistance. A safe haven can be as straightforward as a police station, fire station, church or retail shop located along a walking route. They can also be more structured. The Parents League of New York coordinates a Safe Haven Program on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When merchants and residential building owners join the program, they receive a bright yellow “SAFE HAVEN” decal to place in their doors or windows. Children in the area know that the sticker means they can enter the building to wait until they feel safe, or to call home or the police.  Participants are not asked to get directly involved in crime situations.


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In Camden, the mayor’s office and board of education developed a Safe Corridors program that designates school routes and safe havens throughout the city. The city’s Engineering Department and Traffic Bureau installed “Safe Corridor” signs along the designated routes. A Parent Rangers program was instituted with parent volunteers who were provided hats and vests. The Parent Rangers act as eyes and ears along the school routes. Although funding has waned

for the full program, some school and parent volunteers continue to keep the program running. In recent months, the Trenton School District, working with the city police, has also been exploring a safe corridor program similar to Camden’s.


Each of these examples provides added levels of safety along school routes. A "walking buddy group” requires only a number of students in the same neighborhood who walk to the same destination and follow a daily routine. Safe corridors require more coordination and involvement of municipal officials, but can benefit a greater number of students. Whether a parent patrol is formal or informal, it works to engage citizens to participate actively in creating a safer environment for children walking to school. Among all of these options, a walk to school alternative exists for all levels of engagement.

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