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Safe Routes to School Demonstration Project at Hood River Middle School

The City of Hood River and the Hood River County School District have partnered together with the Portland State University(PSU) Better Blocks program, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Anson’s Bike Buddies to develop a three-month pilot program to demonstrate a safer active transportation network for students of Hood River Middle School. 

This Safe Routes to School project will temporarily rearrange sections of the 40-foot wide roadways along 17th, May and 18th Streets to demonstrate a nine-foot wide protected, two-way shared use pathway from Belmont to Sherman Avenues. To accommodate this pathway, driving lanes will be narrowed, and parking will be prohibited on the east side of 18th and 17th Streets during the duration of the project. The City will also be installing a temporary stop sign on eastbound May Street at 17th Street, making this intersection an all-way stop. 

In 2022, the project began with PSU planning and engineering students observing middle school students’ behavior and safety issues. Simultaneously, the City was undergoing the ODOT Safe Routes to School planning grant, which included safety walk audits and parent surveys of barriers to walking and biking to school. During this process, the community prioritized the streets and intersections of 17th, May, and 18th for infrastructure improvements. In January 2023, an afterschool program of 5th to 8th grade students called the 80s Walk & Roll Club was launched. These students led the demonstration project planning, which included a community outreach process. The students successfully engaged 100 percent of the neighbors along the project corridor and received a mix of thumbs up and enthusiastic support from everyone.

The main goal of this Safe Routes to School project is to improve safety for and awareness of students who walk, ride, or roll their way to school, and encourage more students to participate in active transportation to and from school. All of these improvements are being temporarily installed to give the community a chance to experience these new transportation options and to provide the City with constructive feedback before the City plans for or invests in future right of way improvements.