Thursday, February 16, 2012

NBC-2 News: STEM students contribute to street safety

Kudos to leaders of the County's Complete Streets team, Tessa LeSage and Andy Getch, for taking complete streets to the Estero High School students.  The next generation of community leaders is learning first hand how to assess street safety in their own neighborhood.  Be sure to watch the video.

NBC-2 News, 2/16/12

LEE COUNTY, FL - People in the thick of a problem make the best problem solvers, that's the idea the Lee Schools Foundation and Lee County planners took to Estero High School. The teens got real-work experience and completed the same audits as county workers to assess street safety.

Estero High School students were the first to get outdoors and work on the county's Complete Streets project. The project began three years ago to improve safety. The students got a chance to spot trouble and come up with their own solutions.

"We live in a beautiful environment where people should be able to walk and ride their bikes if they want, but unfortunately we focus a lot on vehicles and moving vehicles and not moving people," said Tessa LeSage, Sustainability Projects Manager.

To change that, they're turning to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) students like Taylor Hancock, who hopes to become an engineer.

"With the STEM program we've mainly just went out to businesses and seen what they've done, but now they're coming to us and they're kind of asking our advice for what to do," said student Taylor Hancock.
Advice like more signs, reminding drivers to slow down, adding benches, and bus stops.

Efrain Lopez didn't realize the danger until he walked in a pedestrian's shoes.
"I learned that just being a pedestrian walking the side of the road you get a safer feeling knowing that cars are doing their job, going slow, the speed limit, there's a side walk for you to walk on instead of having to walk in the grass," said Lopez.

County leaders heard the students' ideas and could make them reality.
"They're actually going through the same exercises that we do and their suggestions are great, I mean you don't have to already be an engineer," said LeSage.

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