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West Side Elementary Unveils New “Traffic Garden”

A new traffic garden was unveiled this morning at Westside Elementary School. The design was painted in August by a Turf Tank robot. This cut installation time of the Traffic Garden from several days to approximately an hour and half. The Westside Elementary School Traffic Garden is the first in the world to be installed by a robot.

A traffic garden is a small set of painted, connected streets that allows children to practice the rules of the road through play. A traffic garden allows students to safely practice how to navigate intersections away from moving vehicles.

“We are thrilled to have the area’s first permanent traffic garden here at Westside Elementary School,” said Westside Principal Dr. Kristen English.  “This is a unique experience for our students and our faculty is already integrating STEM education with experiential learning and play through the traffic garden.”

The Westside Elementary traffic garden is the result of collaboration among the Transportation Division of the City of Roanoke, Roanoke City Public Schools and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission’s RIDE Solutions program. Stakeholders have worked six months to pursue a grant and plan a unique layout designed specifically with Westside Elementary in mind by Alta Planning + Design.

“We’re proud to have been a part of bringing a traffic garden to Westside Elementary School.”  Fionnuala Quinn of Discover Traffic Gardens said. “We design traffic gardens specifically with kids in mind and they can make a lifelong impression. These memories teach our kids about safety in the way they can best learn.”

The traffic garden is part of the City’s larger push for pedestrian safety and Vision Zero effort, but also supports education. Leaders from across the City spoke at the event, including Mayor Sherman Lea Sr, School Board Chair Dr. Eli Jamison, Chief Academic Officer Archie Freeman III, Transportation Division Manager Dwayne D’Ardenne, Westside Elementary School Principal Dr. Kristin English, and Discover Traffic Gardens founder Fionnuala Quinn.

The Westside Elementary School Traffic Garden will be open and available for community members on weekends and outside of school hours.

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