Best Practices: Whittier Greenway Trail

By Manuel Zavala, Community Outreach Intern

Students and other community members using the Whittier Greenway Trail

The City of Whittier has done a great job of adopting progressive pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Even better, the City managed to integrate its infrastructure to include safer routes to schools.

In 2007 the City of Whittier received $450,000 from the State Safe Routes to Schools program (cycle 6) — and moving beyond increased signage in high traffic areas, they used the funds to help build the Whittier Greenway Trail.

The Whittier Greenway Trail is a five-mile long (NW to SE), class I bicycle path that is used by pedestrians and cyclists, not only for recreational purposes, but for commuting to and from school. The segment of the trail funded by Safe Routes to School connects to several parks and also provides access to five area schools: Orange Grove Elementary, Whittier City Elementary, Dexter Middle School, Longfellow Elementary, and Whittier Union High School.

Building the trail has provided a safe route for hundreds of students to walk or bike, reducing the risk of maneuvering around congested streets before and after school. According to Ms. Barbarotta, a counselor at Dexter Middle School, the number of students that walk or bike has increased since the trail’s completion. She says that many students use the trail to walk home and at times she even uses it to travel between locations along its path.

The Whittier Greenway Trail is a great example of integrating safe routes to school within a transportation infrastructure that can be used by an entire community. Most of the trail was built on an unused railroad right of way, making it an efficient use of available space. And given the number of people who use the trail in their various methods of transportation, the Whittier Greenway Trail has definitely proved successful.

About saferouteseastla
Community Outreach Intern - Safe Routes to School Network

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