Bowie Elementary PTA President Sarah Lancaster and First Vice President Karla Mathis invited Durwood Mayfield, Texas Bicycle Coalition local outreach coordinator, to speak about the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program at the PTA’s general membership meeting Thursday, February 16. Anita Rangel, principal of Bowie Elementary; Lubbock Mayor Pro-tem Tom Martin; City Councilman Jim Gilbreath; City Engineer Jere Hart; and Parks and Recreation Director Randy Truesdale were all in attendance.
Both Martin and Gilbreath spoke to the general assembly, and much to the delight of Texas Bicycle Coalition staff, their subject was Safe Routes to School. More specifically, they addressed the reimbursement grant administered by the Texas Department of Transportation. The audience was very receptive and posed several questions which were readily answered.
This interaction set the tone for Mayfield’s discussion of the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program. The audience again was very receptive and very attentive. The Bike & Walk to School Day concept was explained to them and parents appeared to be supportive of the program.
After the PTA program, Hart, Gilbreath, Truesdale and Mayfield were all available for questions and comments. Hart commented to the PTA president, the school principal and some of the parents that the grants for all elementary schools would be written as one large application by the city. Only those schools meeting application requirements would be considered.
Hart went on to explain that the most efficient way to accomplish this objective would involve “neighborhood walkabouts” initiated by the BikeTexas Safe Routes to School program to record all needs for sidewalks, crosswalks, parking lots and signage. This information was of great help, and immediately the principal asked Mayfield if Texas Bicycle Coalition staff could initiate a “walkabout” as soon as the school year ended. The principal also requested a backpack flier that the school could distribute in May advertising the walkabout and requesting parent involvement.