Congested 49th Avenue, that runs adjacent to IE Camilo Torres Restrepo in the Colombian city of Medellín, will be transformed with a pedestrian crossing according to the proposal 10th grade students at the school have prepared.
Issues that students reported in brainstorming and which have been discussed
This project is developed with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of a pedestrian route on the way to our school. This would make a better environment and more sustainable mobility: taking back our streets in a creative way.
Medellín is the only city in Latin America to have an Intelligent Mobility System (SIMM). Traffic congestion has been reduced thanks to the optimal management of resources at this traffic control centre. This project serves us as a starting point as we consider what needs to be done on the topic of road safety and sustainable mobility in Medellín. Then we can begin the process of investigating the feasibility of our project and resolve the questions around future road safety and sustainable mobility in our community.
In a brainstorming session students reflected on the habits and lifestyle of the community regarding road safety and sustainable mobility, providing some key elements relating to road safety. They also formed groups to reflect on the difficulties that they have when crossing streets with a high volume of traffic, in order to develop a campaign for the creation of a pedestrian crossing next to IE Camilo Torres Restrepo. They did some research on accidents that have occurred on this street, interviewed members of the educational community about the risks involved in crossing it, and the benefits of pedestrian access. They also consulted the book ‘Road Safety, A Public Health Challenge in 21st Century Colombia’, the National School of Public Health Journal, reports on road accidents in Medellín from the University of Antioquia, Road Prevention Fund annual accident reports, the Medellín Ministry of Transport and Traffic of Medellin and the web page http://www.medellin.gov.co/transito/accidentalidad.html.
Relevant issues identified by the students related to road/mobility security in our community:
• A member of our school could die as a result of road traffic injuries
• It is an opportunity for everyone in our school to improve our daily lives and surroundings
• Provide school members with safer road conditions and a better environment.
After their analysis of the issue and the topics chosen, some students concluded that we need to create a healthy environment, responsible behaviour and a safer street. They identified the risks that aggressively-driven vehicles (trucks, cars, motorbikes, etc.) create along 49th Avenue. We need a pedestrian crossing because we have a right to safely cross this road on our way to school.
Description of the project decided to develop the students in our community.
The tenth grade initiative includes researching and consulting with the community about this project that would result in a pedestrian crossing on 49th Avenue, which is used by vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
The students participated in the development of the initiative with these activities:
• Group work: Developed an information campaign to promote reflection and discussion of mobility in our educational community (awareness posters about risks associated with traffic accidents)
• Group work: An after-school art exhibition on the future of mobility where students dream of alternative transportation and safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists
• Wrote articles and reports on the positive effects of better pedestrian access to the school
• Create a play about the risks to the school’s educational community.
The actions were directed at the whole community because it helps children, adolescents, young adults and seniors. The message of the initiative was: “We will move around our city and, at the same time, interact with others in a safe way.”
Our activities had impact and were positively evaluated. It was noted that they modify our relationship with the car as we travel the city on foot or by bicycle and that they not only influence the way we travel, but also affect our safety and have an impact on the environment. It is another way to think about our relationship with our environment and with others. It provokes changes in our behaviour, influences the way traffic systems are planned and how our surroundings look.