A traffic garden is something Iowa Safe Routes to School has been tinkering with during the pandemic as an alternative to bike rodeos/safety clinics. A traffic garden is similar to a bike rodeo from the perspective of educating kids how to bike safely. Where it is different it is that the chalk, tape or paint that you use to create the course is designed to emulate streets. This design gives kids a more authentic on street experience. Also, traffic gardens depending on the materials used to create them can be more permanent. Allowing kids and families to play at the traffic garden when and how they choose.
Additionally, a traffic garden has the opportunity to be a pop-up project in a community. Pop-up projects are often used by communities to gauge community interest. With enough community interest a pop- up, or temporary, traffic garden could potentially become permanent infrastructures like a playground or skate park where kids can learn to ride and interact in the street. This is where a traffic garden has a significant advantage over bike rodeos. The opportunity for kids to have a permanent place in their neighborhood or community to learn to ride bikes.
If you’d like to learn more about traffic gardens in your community check out the presentation by Finnoula Quinn of Discover Traffic Gardens at the 2021 Iowa Safe Routes to School Conference.