The local nonprofit One Hundred Miles is leading an effort to conduct a citywide audit to improve walking and biking routes to schools in Brunswick.
One Hundred Miles, a coastal advocacy organization, is partnering with the Georgia Department of Transportations’ Safe Routes to School program and the Glynn County School System to conduct the walking audit.
They are currently seeking volunteers, said Alice Keyes, one of the project’s leaders.
“We’re trying to take a surface-level look at these walking routes,” she said.
The audit will cover walking routes to all five schools in Brunswick.
Mike Pope, who works with One Hundred Miles, said he’s been knocking on doors and reaching out to community members, local leaders and school administrators, seeking volunteers to participate in the audit.
“I’m trying to sign on as many people as I can, and so far the response has been great,” he said.
Virgil Cole, superintendent of Glynn County schools, said many Glynn County students walk to school and will benefit from this audit.
“Anything that helps improve our community is certainly beneficial,” Cole said.
A kickoff event will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School, 1900 Lee St., Brunswick. At the event, which will include free pizza, volunteers will go over the expectations of the audit.
They will also take preliminary steps to mark up maps of Brunswick and identify heavily trafficked walking routes.
“We’re going to have huge maps for each community to divide up, because we have five schools and that’s a lot,” said Keyes, the vice president of coastal conservation for One Hundred Miles. “We want members of each community to go to the map they’re most familiar with and use highlighters and markers and sticky dots to identify the areas where kids travel the most.”
The audit will be conducted over the weekend of Sept. 23-24.
Volunteers will separate into groups and walk the streets, while marking on checklists the walking and biking barriers they see. These could include sidewalk cracks, poorly lit areas and other potential dangers.
“The checklists will just make it all easier to consolidate, once we’ve collected all of our findings, so that when One Hundred Miles takes our findings to the next level to try to seek some actual changes, we’ll be able to very clearly say what we found and how we want to change it,” Pope said.
The nonprofit is coordinating the effort, but Keyes said the work has already started within the communities themselves.
“The Windsor Park Neighborhood Association has been working with the city and really promoting the construction of a walking path over a tidal just north of Glynn Middle School,” Keyes said.
Bethel Baptist Church, located near Burroughs-Molette Elementary, has long been working to ensure that its students get to and from school safely, Keyes said.
“All of this has really come from the community itself,” she said. “I think that’s the beauty of the work that Mike and I are doing, is that it really is an all-in effort.”
So far, they’ve received support from local businesses, the county police chief and city commissioners for the walking audit, she said.
“We really do appreciate the value that people have for creating these safe places for our kids to walk,” she said.
All are invited to volunteer in the walking audit, Pope said.
“It obviously has a special appeal to parents with children, but that’s by no means the only volunteers that we’re soliciting,” he said. “In fact, I’d say half of the folks that have signed up at this point don’t even have kids in schools. They’re just community members who recognize that this is a chance to seek some significant improvement.”
Those interested in volunteering can sign up at OneHundredMiles.org/PredestrianProject.