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Do we have a means for ensuring the safety of students who walk to school?

Question#: 25

ANSWER:

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is authorized by the regulations of the State of Maryland to provide safe and efficient transportation to the students residing in Montgomery County. The Board of Education is responsible for establishing the operational expectations and eligibility criteria for its student transportation services. It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to work with other agencies when needed and to consider the safety of students when designing school site plans. This includes pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns, assessing routes for walking to and from school and other school bus stops, and establishing bus routes and locations of school bus stops.

MCPS is responsible for conducting safety evaluations of bus stops and recommended walking routes. Students are expected to walk in residential areas along and across streets, with or without sidewalks. Students are expected to walk along primary roadways with sidewalks or shoulders of sufficient width to allow walking off the main road. Middle and high school students are expected to cross all controlled intersections where traffic signals, lined crosswalks, or other traffic control devices are available. Elementary school students may be required to cross primary roadways where an adult crossing guard is present.

Students are provided bus transportation, regardless of their distance from the school, unless there is a safe walking route that has been evaluated by the MCPS Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT staff reevaluates designated walking routes as needed, and often at the request of parents or students. DOT works with the Montgomery County Police in the placement of adult crossing guards to facilitate safe student walking. They work with county and state roads officials, and the Safe Access to Schools Program to ensure that appropriate signals, signage and sidewalks are available to facilitate safe walking.

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