Safe Routes to School
When Tina Hein became a member of the Select Board, she made it clear that safe streets were
of critical importance to her. Drawing on her knowledge as a physical therapist and educator in
that field, she knew about the damage that vehicles can inflict on people. Right from the get-go,
Safe Routes to School were a priority.
Thanks to the efforts of Robert Walker, Deputy Director of the DPW, and a very aggressive
Highway Department construction schedule, here’s what we have today!
More than 100 children a day use Safe Routes to get to the three schools on Woodland
Street…and more in the good weather. After-school counts are much higher (have you ever been
downtown on Friday afternoon?)
This effort not only helps the health and safety of the children, it helps the planet by reducing the
number of cars going to the schools. Back in 1962, in our first-ever Master Plan, the author
advised that we should not centralize our schools on Woodland, because future traffic would
offset any benefit gained from consolidating bus routes. We already had Miller and Adams there,
but we added to the campus by adding Placentino. There’s no doubt that car traffic in that area is
overwhelming. We can’t “unbuild,” but Safe Routes to School will help reduce congestion.
Robert Walker and the Holliston DPW received the 2023 Massachusetts Department of
Transportation Municipal Innovation Award for the Safe Routes to School project and related
work, and for his focus on improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. Congratulations, Robert, and
crew! Thank you.
“In the Safe Routes to School survey that we did in 2021, the stated goal was to reduce the
number of cars. The report provided statistics on the reduction in greenhouse gases as we
increase the walk/bike “share” of commuting traffic to the schools. This is the policy discussion I
want to have with the SC,” said Ms. Hein.
While some modest amounts of funds were provided by grants, this project is local – in its
creation, funding, development, and implementation. You can test-walk it yourself anyday.