Enhancing Roadway Safety and Walkability in Pavilion
As part of the New York State Department of Health’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities initiative, the Genesee Valley BOCES (GV BOCES) is collaborating with multi-sector stakeholders and the community at large in Pavilion to increase roadway safety and active transportation opportunities for users of all ages and abilities.
The Health, Safety, and Welfare of Citizens is a Priority
The Town of Pavilion’s Comprehensive Plan articulates an overall vision for the Pavilion and a means to achieve that vision. This includes efforts for the community to gather, celebrate, and work together towards common goals, such as revitalizing Hamlet so it continues to be the useful and attractive heart of the town. Additionally, the plan focuses on developing strategies for keeping the community attractive to current residents and desirable for drawing new residents to the community.
Road safety and efficiency for users of all ages and abilities are Pavilion’s primary transportation concerns and is connected to enhancing the community. NYS Route 19, a north-south, 2-lane arterial, and NYS Route 63, an east-west, 2 to 3-lane arterial intersects in the Hamlet of Pavilion. Both state routes experience considerable traffic volumes with significant tractor-trailer traffic as these state bypass routes are used to minimize freight travel distance. Safe passing options are limited in the areas just beyond this main intersection and vehicles often perform illegal and risky maneuvers to circumvent freight traffic. To compound matters, the elementary and middle/high schools are located a short distance from the intersection.
In 2021, GV BOCES and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Genesee Transportation Council, collaborated to facilitate a walkability tour and Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index Assessment with a multi-stakeholder advisory committee consisting of residents, the Town Supervisor, the Superintendent of Schools, the Director of School Transportation, the School Resource Officer, and the New York State Department of Transportation to learn more about roadway safety and walkability near the schools and the Hamlet of Pavilion. Based on the data collected, an action plan and recommended interventions were developed. The audit allowed the advisory committee to use multiple data points to identify potential improvements to support roadway safety and promote walkability. One data-driven recommendation made by the advisory committee included the implementation of speed indicators. As a result, GV BOCES Creating Healthy Schools and Communities funds supported the purchase of a mobile speed trailer to be deployed at multiple locations near the schools and Hamlet area to improve roadway safety and the quality of the transportation system. Data collected from the mobile unit will inform additional recommendations and improvements to support safety and pedestrian-friendly activity.
“Addressing roadway safety issues and enhancing opportunities for pedestrian activity support the vitality and economic development of the Hamlet and the health and wellness of the community.” Rob LaPoint, Pavilion Town Supervisor.
Moving forward, additional opportunities exist for community planning and interventions that increase safe and accessible physical activity to establish a community environment that supports the health and wellness of residents and the economic development of the area. One example includes the exploration of Complete Streets as a framework for community planning to develop and implement systems and environmental changes for safe, equitable, and accessible activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations within the community. A Complete Street is a roadway that is planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway users of all ages and abilities. Sidewalks, lane striping, bicycle lanes, paved shoulders, signage, crosswalks, pedestrian control signals, curb cuts, and traffic calming messages are all examples of Complete Streets design features. Complete Streets can bolster economic growth, improve safety, enhance well-being, and provide equity.
“The mobile speed trailer helps to support the moderation of traffic conditions to improve the safety of operations for all roadway users with a particular emphasis on areas near schools. The mobile speed trailer has noticeably reduced speeders in front of the school. While school is not in session, the unit is being used near the fire hall and the Little League fields to increase awareness. It has been a blessing to have the speed trailer added to our community.” Deputy Jeremy McClellan, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and School Resource Officer Pavilion CSD.
A Sustainable Culture of Safety, Health, and Wellness in the School Community
In addition to the implementation of the mobile speed trailer and exploration of Complete Streets, the school district is also working to enhance the overall health and wellness of students, staff, and community members. GV BOCES is collaborating with Pavilion CSD to support the implementation of enhanced policies and practices that create opportunities for physical activity and healthy nutrition environments.
The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model is a framework that supports learning and health
Physical activity and nutrition are two components of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model that supports student health and academic achievement. The school district’s Wellness Committee is currently assessing the district’s Local Wellness Policy and working to integrate and align school and community health and wellness-related programming and practices that support learning and improve health.
Through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Initiative, GV BOCES is facilitating a comprehensive, equitable, and integrated approach to supporting sustainable healthy communities as places where it is easier to practice healthy behaviors.
Photo caption: This mobile speed trailer is being used near the schools and Hamlet area in Pavilion to support walkability and roadway safety. Pictured left to right: Heather Bachman, GV BOCES and Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Coordinator; Deputy Jeremy McClellan, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Pavilion CSD School Resource Officer; and Mary Kate Hoffman, School Superintendent, Pavilion CSD.