Students from Spring Lake Intermediate, Holmes Elementary and St. Mary’s Parish schools participated in the event designed to show children and parents safe, nonmotorized ways to get to school, Spring Lake Village Manager Ryan Cotton said.
The program is funded through a grant obtained by the staff at Holmes Elementary School. It helps teach the children about reducing pollution, decreasing energy consumption and increasing fitness by walking to school, Cotton said. Studies show that students who walk to school also do better in their studies, he said.
The Safe Routes walk has been conducted for several years now.
The grant allowed for distribution of reflective gear, helmets and lights last year, Cotton said.
“This year is the infrastructure portion — the crosswalks, traffic-calming bumpouts and signs” at Prospect and Exchange streets, he said. The bumpouts slow down cars and make the distance shorter for children who have to cross the street.
Another aspect of the program was the mile of sidewalk construction on River Street, South Street and Fruitport Road.
“The village has always been a walkable community,” Cotton said. “This program embellishes that.”
One aspect of the Safe Routes program that has caused some confusion are the signs placed in the intersection during the school day, said Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Chief Roger DeYoung. The sign reads: “State law, stop for pedestrians within crosswalk.”
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