Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The scaled-down diagram gives students a place to practice walking and biking skills

PMG PHOTO: PAT KRUIS - This scaled-down diagram of roads and intersections at Southeast Seventh Street and Southeast C Street in Madras provides a safe place for children to practice their street walking and rolling skills. The Safe Routes to Schools program provided this Traffic Garden.

When Whitney Bennett teaches elementary students street safety, she quickly chalks an outline of roads and intersections and have children role play.

"Someone being a pedestrian and someone being a car," Bennett says, "and start interacting in a very safe area where they can learn the skills and do them independently."

Bennett is the Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator for Central Oregon.

"The goal is to increase the number of students and families that are walking and rolling to school." Bennett uses the term "rolling" to include scooters, bikes, roller skates, any non-motorized transportation with wheels. "It's healthy. It's fun. It reduces traffic impacts around schools. It helps improve the school community."

COVID restrictions have limited opportunities for Bennett to have in-person outreach. So, Bennett asked the City of Madras to help create a "Traffic Garden" on the lot at Southeast Seventh and Southeast C streets, a place where children and families can practice their traffic skills on their own.

The city put up the signs for the Traffic Garden and cleaned up the lot so she could paint the roads and intersections. This version is spray chalk, but Bennett expects it to last up to eight weeks.

A driver shortage has resulted in reduced bus routes, making finding safe routes to school important for more people.

"Our programs come into play when students are within one mile of an elementary school." Bennet says. "We try and make sure people know of the best route to take to safely get to school."

Students can find maps on the organization's website outlining safe routes to school at and for more information about the Traffic Garden

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