Location to be determined through a community process
A Dutch Traffic Garden, called “Safety School” in the U.S., is a permanent park for children to learn transportation etiquette by role playing. Kids take turns biking, walking, and driving a miniature streetscape in a safe environment.
Cambridge is soon to embrace a bold bicycle network plan that envisions our city’s built environment with a seamless network of safe, protected, and convenient bikeways. The number one priority ahead of connecting major shopping and employment centers was making sure that children could bike safely to their public or private school. A master plan like this is visionary and should inspire all our residents, but infrastructure is only one part of the equation that yields equitable, safe, and convenient transportation choices. Education is another part of the equation, so in order for our children to use this bikeway network one day, we need to teach them how to navigate it by walking, biking, and driving. A Dutch style Traffic Garden would serve all children of Cambridge and Boston metro through either their school curriculum or on weekends under their parent’s guidance. The location would be best when proximal to low-income or underserved populations that have limited mobility options. We propose that the Traffic Garden be located in East Cambridge.
“In the Dutch city of Utrecht, kids start learning about traffic safety long before they prepare for a driver's license. And not just ‘look both ways before you cross the street.’ The school curriculum includes regular field trips to the local ‘traffic garden.’ The City of Utrecht has used this facility, a streetscape in miniature, to teach kids the rules of the road since the 1950s. Students take turns as cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers, learning how to take other types of street users into consideration. The hands-on experience navigating the traffic garden gives kids the skills and confidence to get around the city under their own power as soon as their early teens” (Streetfilms.org).
Video: “Self Reliance Grows in Utrecht Traffic Garden”, https://vimeo.com/31545084