The Safe Routes to School planning process in Hastings was set in motion by a community input meeting which gave parents, students, and residents an opportunity to voice their feelings about the current conditions of sidewalks on or around the elementary school campus. Additional input was generated through a walking audit, which assessed physical and non-physical issues that students may encounter on their way to school. Observations made during the audit helped to target specific areas that need immediate attention.
The audit was accompanied by student and parent surveys, which were conducted to capture the feelings and concerns from students and parents who use these routes on a regular basis. After data was collected and analyzed by the team, a series of recommendations were drafted with the intention of facilitating the community’s vision. In addition to these planning recommendations, design and infrastructure images were created to visualize physical improvements to sidewalks and streets. These recommendations and images were presented at meeting two on March 23, 2015, where participants provided their feedback that would prompt the technical assistance team to make necessary revisions. Following this meeting, the team began drafting a comprehensive report, which was then presented at the third and final meeting for any further comments and suggestions from the community. This detailed process resulted in the creation of a finalized action plan which demonstrates the necessary requirements to seek infrastructure grants for priority infrastructure improvements and to help implement programmatic recommendations.