The Walkability Project is a partnership between the East Side Partnership, the Stamford Health Commission, United Way of Western Connecticut, the Stamford Police Department, Trailblazers Academy/Domus, K.T. Murphy Elementary School, and Rogers International School.
Dangerous crossing areas, construction, garbage on the streets, and graffiti; These are just some of the issues students on Stamford’s East Side say they encounter on the daily walk to and from school.
“There are no crosswalks,” says Trailblazers Academy student Christian Colvin, “People don’t stop at the stop signs.”
“The children have to walk outside the sidewalks on the streets and drivers actually drive kind of reckless,” says Anthony Pempleton, a youth counselor at Trailblazers.
Last Summer, a community group called the East Side Partnership asked residents to take part in a walk ability study to find out how safe the streets are. This year, the City's Health Commission formed a committee and began a walk to school initiative. Now, with the involvement of 3 East Side schools, the project is building momentum. On Thursday, students from Trailblazers Academy brought some of their concerns to the Health Commission.
“They provided me with great information regarding sidewalks that may be broken, crosswalks that are not painted properly, and then areas where you have illegal dumping, and areas that they don’t feel safe,” says Ted Jankowski, Director of Public Safety for Stamford.”
And some areas, the students say, are particularly troublesome, such as Maple Avenue, Lee Street, and East Main Street.
“Maple has a lot of trash, it has a lot of trash,” says Pempleton.
“East Main Street has been sited in several studies as being one of the most dangerous streets in Stamford and also in the state, and we’ve actually had cyclists and pedestrians that were hit by cars on East Main Street, so we’re very concerned about that,” says Eva Weller, Executive Director of the East Side Partnership.
As the project grows, Weller says the partnership will continue to work with the city, schools, and community, to push for a safer walking environment for everyone.
“We’re very pleased that so many different groups are involved because we think it really will make a difference in terms of having some changes made,” Weller says.
“The study that they performed, I can actually act on based on their recommendations and I’m going to address them right away,” says Jankowski.
“If the streets were better and it looked safer, the kids would actually walk more rather than want to get rides and want to take the bus because they’ll feel safer,” says Pempleton.