Tag Archives: Safety

Belmont Begins Crosswalk Flag Pilot Program to Increase Pedestrian Safety

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Belmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes.

The project is being launched by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works.

Flags mounted to poleThe crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont. Here’s how the flags work: A pedestrian picks up a brightly colored flag from a canister located near one end of a crosswalk and holds it in front of them, clearly signaling their desire to cross the street. When traffic has stopped, the pedestrian crosses the street while holding the flag, then places it in the bucket at the other end of the crosswalk. The use of flags does not eliminate a pedestrian’s responsibility to take all normal safety precautions. And the flags are not intended to replace crossing guards.

The pilot program is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 21st at each of the four crosswalks. Volunteers will demonstrate how to use the flags at the following locations:

  • On Gale Road at Watson Road
  • On Lexington Street at Sycamore Street
  • On Cross Street at Broad Street
  • On Payson Road at Oakley Road

The crosswalk flag pilot program is funded with a generous grant from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative. Be Well Belmont LogoBe Well Belmont is a coalition of leaders in the Belmont community dedicated to the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The Belmont Safe Routes to School Working Group will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the program over the coming months.

Belmont joins other communities with crosswalk flag programs, including Seattle, Salt Lake City, Lexington, and Arlington, which has been a helpful adviser. Formal studies and anecdotal evidence support the idea that crosswalk flags are effective in encouraging pedestrian safety. A report, available through the Transportation Research Board, describes research that shows flags to be an effective tool in prompting motorists to yield to pedestrians.

Special thanks goes to Abby Klingbeil (SRTS, Winn Brook) for initiating and developing this pilot program via the Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group.

Questions about the pilot should be directed to Abby at  belmontcrosswalkflags@gmail.com

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.05.30 AM


About the Belmont SRTS Community Working Group

Safe Routes to School logo, a division of Mass Department of TransportationThe Working Group convenes community stakeholders to share best practices and to improve both safety and participation of student walking and cycling. It is co-organized by Kate Bowen (Chair, Sustainable Belmont) and Melissa Green (Regional Coordinator, SRTS). Representatives of each elementary school, Chenery, Belmont Police Department, the Office of Community Development, Belmont Health Department, School Committee, Traffic Advisory Committee, and Sustainable Belmont participate. Please contact Kate Bowen for more information about this community group. 

How to Use a Crosswalk Flag

To increase the safety of pedestrians in Belmont, especially near our schools, Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 11.34.42 PMBelmont is starting a crosswalk flag pilot program at four locations along popular school walking routes. The crosswalk flag program is a low-cost, low-tech tool designed to help increase pedestrian visibility and driver awareness in Belmont.

Here’s how the flags work:

  1. Take a flag to increase your visibility
  2. Stop at the curb or edge of the street
  3. Look left, right, left (and behind you and in front of you, if at an intersection)
  4. Wait until traffic is stopped, or there’s no traffic coming, before you step into the crosswalk.
  5. Hold the flag in front of you as you cross.
  6. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  7. Walk, don’t run across the street.
  8. Place the flag in the container on the other side.

If you see that a container is empty, please move a few extra flags from the opposite bucket to the empty container next time you cross. Always practice caution when crossing the road, with or without a flag.

The project is being launched on Tuesday, September 22nd by Belmont Safe Routes to School Community Working Group, in collaboration with the Town of Belmont, including Belmont Public Schools, Belmont Office of Community Development, Belmont Police Department, and Belmont Department of Public Works, with generous support from Be Well Belmont, a project of the Belmont Food Collaborative.

Logo of the Be Well Belmont program, a division of the Belmont Food CollaborativeLogo of the Safe Routes to School program, a division of Mass Department of Transportation

Safer Personal Care Products

Sustainable Belmont will again talk about Safe Personal Care Products at the Belmont High School this coming April. As part of the BHS Hallway Health program, a group of volunteers will present information on the most common chemicals of concern in these products and provide information on safer alternatives. Silent Spring Institute, among other groups, has helpful guidance for consumers. Major Endocrine Glands

Thanks go out to Nancy Forbes for spearheading this important contribution and to Marzina Bockler, Lucia Gates, Marha Cohen, Jeri Weiss and Judy Otto for their work on this event!

The concerns regarding chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates, in personal cares products range from harm to the water supply and ecological chain to hormonal disruption and subsequent non-communicable diseases related to those hormonal impacts. A Washington Post article, Are parabens and phthalates harmful in makeup and lotions?, explains the concerns.

Infographic from One Green Planet

Green Alliance among the Belmont Schools

Members of our various green teams and parents involved in sustainability activities at the public schools in Belmont have come together this past year to address concerns about sustainability. They are the newly formed “Belmont PTA/PTO Green Alliance”.

The Belmont PTA/PTO Green Team Alliance seeks to share and advocate best practices in sustainability for the Belmont Public Schools.

Participants in the alliance are currently coordinating on issues such as reducing waste, educating on and monitoring recycling, behavior changes to reduce energy consumptions, and fostering walking and biking to schools. By sharing best practices and addressing issues with municipal employees and elected officials, they endeavor to make our schools healthier along with our local environment.

If you would like to learn more about the alliance or participate, please contact Amanda Mujica at amanda [at] amandamujicadesign.com

Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group

Sustainable Belmont is pleased to support and participate in Belmont’s first Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group. Kate Bowen (SB), Heather Ross (SRTS) and Heather Drake (SRTS) have connected with stakeholders in the community to create this collaborative group. We are pleased that representative members from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Community Development, the Police Department, the Traffic Advisory Committee, Burbank Elementary School, and Daniel Butler Elementary School have made a commitment to meet and coordinate support of the SRTS program. We look forward to including representatives from the Chenery, Wellington and Winn Brook schools. We also appreciate the support from the School Committee, as members are able to participate.

Safe Routes to School Massachusetts (logo)Safe Routes to Schools is an organization of the Department of Transportation. They foster improved walking and cycling transportation to school-aged children through education, awareness, research and community organizing. They also provide competitive infrastructure grants. Currently, the SRTS program is active to varying degrees in Belmont, with the Burbank School exceptionally engaged due to its status as a ‘walking’ school, i.e., bus transit is not available to this district. SRTS sponsors ‘National Walk to School Day’ every fall.

Belmont, like many Massachusetts towns, is a small, walkable community with school districts created by proximity to schools. As such, families benefit from short commutes to and from school. Despite short distances, Belmont still faces challenges. The Safe Routes to Schools Community Working Group will work to identify and address these challenges with positive solutions that foster safe walking and cycling to and from schools. While SRTS is a school-focused program, its goals can only be reached with broad community support and in turn, the broad community may benefit from improved pedestrian and cyclist travel outside of the school commuting hours.

SRTS helps increase the numbers of students safely walking or biking to schools and improving the health and environment of the communities served. SRTS recently reported positive outcomes, including that the percentage of parents who reported that their child’s school supported walking and bicycling for the school commute rose from 24.9% to 33% [between 2007 and 2012]. Still, the need for increasing walking and cycling grows due to health and environmental concerns. The global population health burden of physical inactivity is said to be nearing that of cigarette smoking.

Even a short, daily 2-mile commute to drop off and pick up children at schools with an average vehicle can cost up to $2700 / yr (incl. maintenance). The carbon footprint of this small commute for the school year can result in up to 320 lb of CO2 exhausted into the environment (results vary with vehicle). Sustainable Belmont supports environmentally-sustainable modes of transportation.

“For A Common Good” Snow Removal Passes

Pedestrians Cheer…All Winter Long!

All you pedestrians out there who brave the Belmont sidewalks no matter what the weather is doing, no matter how bumpy the pavement is, no matter who has parked over the edge and given you scarcely 3 feet to squeeze you and your grocery bags and your 3 dogs and your 2 kids plus the neighbor’s 2 who have been left to your charge, and no matter how many ewes and privets harass you into the street, you have something to rejoice in – the snow removal bylaw has passed!!! (Belmont Patch article)

[deep breath] Yes.

You will be able to walk down the sidewalk ALL WINTER LONG.
You will still need to use the studded tires and walking sticks, just in case BUT you will NOT be forced into the street. http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01777/old_1777338c.jpg
You will have the full 3 feet (Article 18, 20.15.2) to tow your goodies and your neighbor’s (if so inclined).
You will be able to continue to REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS by sauntering down our VALUED SIDEWALKS instead of hopping into your car.

[smile] Yes.

And…because you value these sidewalks

You will thank your neighbor for shoveling (hot chocolate is nice).
And, you just might ‘go the extra mile’ and help that person who has a harder time than you do shoveling that blizzard’s yield.

Spread the Sidewalk Love.

A few details from the passed amendments of article 20, General Bylaws:

  • Residential owners are responsible for removing snow and ice “to the extent practicable down to the sidewalk’s natural surface” within 24 hours of the snow ceasing to fall.
  • Violations “shall be disposed of in the discretion of the Office of Community Development”. Citations issued progressively at $100, $200, $300 for offenders – a non-criminal fine.
  • The “Enforcing Person” “shall mean any police office of the Town, Director of Public Works and any other Town employee designated by the Board of Selectman”. (Article 18, 20.16)
  • The Board of Selectman will adopt rules and regulations to determine hardship exemptions.

And when it gets on the town website, you will see it in full detail here.

Safe Disposal of Medications

Keeping Medications Out of Our Water

Flushing medications down the water pipes is not a safe practice for disposal. These medications end up in the water stream and then into us. For 2010, the CDC reports that 2.6 BILLION drugs were provided to patients. Ensuring the safe disposal is important to our health and the health of the environment.

Old or unused prescription drugs (NO LIQUIDS!) may be dropped off for free at the local Police Department and other collection sites with no questions asked.

The Belmont Auxiliary Police and the DEA will be hosting a prescription drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent the abuse and theft of old, unused and expired prescription drugs on:

Saturday, April 26th from 10 AM to 2 PM
DPW yard – collection point for this day only
37C St.

On this day, residents will not even have to leave their car to drop off, and of course, no questions asked – this is safe and prompt return of medications. Previous collections have occurred on 10/26/2013.

Learn more about the Rx Drug TakeBack Initiative.
Search to find a drop-off site near you..

Belmont Police Department has a permanent Rx drug collection kiosk located in the lobby of the police station that is accessible 24/7.