GDCI Projects, News January 23, 2023

My Way to School: Making kids’ journeys to school in Santiago, Chile, safer and more enjoyable

In 2019, the GDCI team selected the capital city of Santiago, Chile, as a Streets for Kids Technical Assistance project. Ciudad Emergente — a Chilean nonprofit organization focused on implementing projects related to walkability, safe cycling facilities, and road safety — was in charge of leading the project. With the support of the Global Designing Cities Initiative, Ciudad Emergente selected Enrique Soro street as the project site. The project’s main objectives were to establish safe intersections, extend sidewalks, and reduce speeds. The team divided the project into two stages. The first one was the “My Way To School” kit, a take-home engagement tool crafted by Ciudad Emergente for students at Juana Atala de Hirmas school in Renca. The second stage was the implementation of a pilot project on Enrique Soro street in Independencia—a street that is part of the daily route for many children who attend Juana Atala de Hirmas school.

    • Inauguration of the redesign of Enrique Soro street. The street was closed for children and their families to enjoy.
    • Inauguration of the redesign of Enrique Soro street. The street was closed for children and their families to enjoy.
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    With the help of the “My Way To School” Kit, Ciudad Emergente was able to record key data regarding children’s perceptions of their journey to school. Speeding cars and the fear of getting run over were prevalent themes. With this in mind, the objective of the pilot intervention was to improve road safety through chicanes, add new pedestrian crossings, and improve pedestrian space. In addition to the previously mentioned safety elements, this project aimed to make the street more attractive by adding elements of color and games.

    The project team conducted a series of user surveys in November 2021, including children, caregivers, and community members who lived near Enrique Soro street. The surveys found that over 400 children and caregivers participated in the activation of Enrique Soro street; 85% of children and caregivers not only consider it safe to cross the street following implementation but also consider it exciting and joyful to walk around Enrique Soro street. Additionally, the project brought forth 1,500 square meters of reclaimed pedestrian space, six newly marked pedestrian crossings, 2,000 square meters of space for children and caregivers to enjoy, and 60% fewer speeding vehicles.

    “This initiative is actually very valuable. It allows the use of the street in the way we are seeing now, streets used by kids, by the communities, and it becomes a meeting point.” — Alcalde Gonzalo Durán, Mayor of Independencia

    This project is part of our Streets for Kids program, which looks at cities through the lens of children and their caregivers. Our support to cities ranges from online training and interactive capacity building sessions to in-depth technical support to aid delivery of Streets for Kids-focused projects on the ground.

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