“People live around here.”
It’s something I frequently yell at drivers who fly down my street because they are late to something. It’s what residents everywhere wish drivers would remember when they commute through their neighborhoods.
“People live around here!”
As drivers, we often find ourselves speeding through someone else’s neighborhood to get where we are going. Most of us don’t do it on purpose. And we don’t do it on our own streets, because, well — people live around here.
What if everyone took a pledge to be a courteous driver, acknowledging that our streets are our community and our responsibility? Would that pledge be enough of a reminder to slow down, be a defensive driver and drive like his or her own family was sharing those streets?
A new Southeast Quadrant citizen based initiative hopes so. The Neighborhood Pace Car program is asking drivers to be part of the solution to make neighborhood streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and all who are out and about engaging in daily life. Drivers sign a pledge to drive within the speed limit, drive courteously, yield to pedestrians and be mindful of bicyclists and others on the street. Those taking the pledge display the yellow Pace Car sticker on their cars. It’s a citizens-in-action movement, with citizens leading by example, helping to calm traffic and raise awareness of the need for livable streets.
“A Pace Car Driver recognizes that quality of life for all residents is enhanced when responsible drivers adhere to the laws and safe driving practices on every street in our neighborhoods. A Pace Car Driver also serves as an example so that the others will respect safety on our streets.”
The Neighborhood Pace Car program was created by David Engwicht, who is renown for his innovative thinking on empowering citizens to create vibrant public spaces and neighborhoods. Often called the “Traffic Calming Guru,” he is the mind behind the Walking School Bus. Engwicht’s Pace Car program has been implemented in various cities across the US, including Santa Cruz CA, Salt Lake City UT, Greensboro NC and New Haven CT.
Pace Car was brought to Rochester by volunteer Marcia Zach, co-chairperson of the Highland Park Neighborhood Placemaking Team and officially kicked off this week at the Highland Park Neighborhood Association’s National Night Out, where more than 50 citizens signed the pledge. Zach discovered Engwicht’s ideas while doing research for the first Traffic Calming Plan for the Highland Park Neighborhood 6 years ago. Zach: “The Pace Car idea appealed to me because it allows everyone to be a part of the solution. After researching Traffic Calming, I found this is not just something that other people must do, it begins with our personal choices and education.”
You can take and submit the pledge online here to receive your free Pace Car sticker in the mail. You can also fill out a pledge form at the service desk of a Pace Car partner location (or turn in one you printed at home) and pick up your Pace Car sticker in person:
Northwest Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center
71 Parkway – First Floor
Rochester, NY 14608
Ronald Penders, Administrator
Northeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center
500 Norton St
Rochester, NY 14621
Pamela Reese Smith, Administrator
Southwest Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center
923 Genesee St
Rochester, NY 14611
David Hawkes, Administrator
Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center
320 N Goodman Street – Suite 209
Rochester, NY 14607
Nancy Johns-Price, Administrator
By doing so, you will pledge to:
- Be aware of and observe the speed limit
- Slow down near schools and other areas such as playgrounds, parks, residential streets where children are often present.
- Always yield to pedestrians crossing the street
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs, then look carefully before proceeding
- Be courteous to bicyclists and other road users.
- Do not tailgate
- Do not block walkways, a bike lane, or a driveway when parking
- Consider using alternative means of transportation and consolidate car trips to lessen traffic on residential streets.
- Display the Pace Car Bumper Sticker on their vehicle so other drivers know why they are driving courteously and at a safe speed.
- Encourage others to sign the pledge. The more Pace Car drivers the safer our streets will become!
WHERE DO YOU DISPLAY THE PACE CAR STICKER ON YOUR CAR?
On a window, bumper or body of the rear of your car.
HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PACE CAR PROGRAM?
Visit www.RocPaceCar.com to learn more.
Look for pledge forms and stickers at neighborhood events, like the Highland Park Neighborhood Association’s National Night Out Celebration.
Join with other drivers in your community (like News 8’s Rachel Barnhart) today to help make our streets safer for all who use them. Become a Pace Car driver.
Because people live around here.
Rachel Barnhart takes Pace Car Pledge [PHOTO: Michael E. Tomb]