2022 Dayton, KY pop-up bike shop

Dayton Traffic Garden is on track!

Monday, July 10, 2023 by Caitlin Sparks

Earlier this year, Tri-State Trails received a $25,000 federal grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association through Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to install a traffic garden in Dayton, Kentucky. The traffic garden, which is the first of its kind in the region, will be used by Lincoln Elementary students and local children to have fun, be active, and learn bicycle safety skills. The project is on track to be permanently installed this summer at Gil Lynn Park, where it will be accessible to the public. 

Get involved! Pop-Up Bike Shop + Dayton traffic garden demonstration

On Saturday, July 15, from 11:00 am-3:00 pm, the public is invited to Gil Lynn Park to participate in a temporary traffic garden installation. The chalk-drawn installation allows the community to experience some of the Dayton traffic garden elements and the opportunity to provide us with feedback before we install the permanent traffic garden later this summer. Everyone is welcome—bring your bike for the fullest, most fun experience! And if your bike needs a basic tune-up, bring it to this event, and our Pop-Up Bike Shop volunteers will check tire pressure, brakes, and gear shifting to ensure safe riding. Tri-State Trails will also be distributing bike lights, locks, and bells free of chrage to residents, which is made possible thanks to a Paula Nye Memorial Education Grant awarded by the Kentucky Bicycle & Bikeway Commission.

Pop-Up Bike Shop + Traffic Garden Demonstration
Saturday, July 15, from 11:00 am-3:00 pm
Gil Lynn Park, 203 Greendevil Ln, Dayton, KY 41074

🟢 11:00 am-3:00 pm Pop-Up Bike Shop volunteers are ready to fix your bike!
🟡 12:00 pm Traffic Garden demonstration with Discover Traffic Gardens
🔴 2:00 pm Traffic Garden demonstration with Tri-State Trails

Pedestrian and cycling education in schools

Heather Dragan, Principal of Lincoln Elementary, and her team of teachers and staff have been invaluable enthusiastic partners for the traffic garden project. They invited Tri-State Trails to attend school events, where we introduced the project to the community and helped facilitate surveys about traffic safety for students and parents.

In the upcoming school year, Lincoln Elementary will have a fleet of 22 new bikes for its students. Teachers will use these bikes to conduct programs in the new traffic garden and help students strengthen skills that encourage healthy habits like walking and biking to school. The school purchased ten bikes, while Tri-State Trails and Cincinnati Off-Road Alliance facilitated the donation of 12 additional bikes.

The beauty of using traffic gardens as an educational tool is that it offers an immersive, experiential learning opportunity. It goes beyond safety do’s and don’ts and engages children in a holistic and hands-on way about how to make streets safer and more comfortable for different kinds of road users. It teaches children how the built environment helps facilitate different transportation choices and how better design and engineering can enable healthier, safer, and more sustainable modes of transportation. Moreover, using traffic gardens as a teaching tool makes tangible the role of engineering in our day-to-day lives, as can be seen right now in the streets of Dayton, Kentucky.

“The City of Dayton has been undergoing efforts to make our city more pedestrian and bike-friendly, including slowing down traffic on our streets and educating the driving public about how to share our streets. The new traffic garden proposed for Gil Lynn Park will promote these goals and provide a beautiful, interactive space for children and families to discuss the importance of traffic safety in a fun and engaging way and make our community a safer place.”

Dayton Mayor Ben Baker

Next steps

Discover Traffic Gardens prepared three initial site plans for Gil Lynn Park that included roadways, crosswalks, roundabouts, and colorful elements that bring the traffic garden to life. The chosen design was praised for its addition of bike lanes, train track crossings, bus stations, bike parking, and effective use of the entire space.

This chosen design was praised for its addition of bike lanes, train track crossings, bus stations, bike parking, and effective use of the entire space.

To ensure the safety, smoothness, and longevity of the traffic garden, the Dayton Park Board and the City of Dayton are scheduling concrete repair at Gil Lynn Park for this August. This work is in anticipation of the permanent traffic garden installation, which will be painted with highway-grade paint, tentatively scheduled for September.

Dayton traffic garden buzz

The benefits of a traffic garden are numerous and can be felt by people of all ages. Children navigate the small-scale network of streets on foot and bikes, learning important life lessons, and adults gain a better understanding of a young person’s needs and experiences. In small and grand ways, we believe traffic gardens help us all sharpen our focus on safety and accessibility so that we may build healthier, more equitable, and vibrant communities.

The Dayton traffic garden is emerging as a landmark and high-quality example of innovative outdoor learning in the region. Each milestone achieved has sparked conversations and inspired new ideas. Several partner organizations have begun planning traffic gardens in schools and parks across the region. The possibilities inspire us!

Our partners at the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety reported high praise from Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.

“As a dad, it is so important to me that every single Kentuckian child has access to safe outdoor spaces, and I am grateful for this grant that will improve bike and pedestrian safety for children across our commonwealth.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

“We’re excited to see how this project will benefit young Kentuckians in the Dayton community.” Teaching children how to stay safe early in life is one approach to help reduce crashes and pedestrian incidents in the future. This project will complement other initiatives the Cabinet is undertaking to boost accessibility and safety for all modes of travel.”

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray

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