Safe Routes to School
When many of us were growing up, we walked or rode our bicycles to school.
“In 1969, 41 percent of children either walked or biked to school; by 2001, only 13 percent still did, according to data from the National Household Travel Survey. In many low-income neighborhoods, children have no choice but to walk. During the same period, children either being driven or driving themselves to school rose to 55 percent from 20 percent. Experts say the transition has not only contributed to the rise in pollution, traffic congestion and childhood obesity, but has also hampered childrens ability to navigate the world.”
Read more at Why Can’t She Walk to School?, New York Times, September 12, 2009
Walking or biking to school gives children extra exercise as well as a sense of responsibility and independence. Being driven to school increases traffic around schools; and busing children who live close to school, but lack the sidewalks and safe crossings to walk, costs all of us in taxes.
Safe Routes to School: Putting Safety First
How Safe Routes to School Initiatives Protect Children Walking and Bicycling
Safe Routes to School National Partnership Report, December 2009
Walking School Bus
A small way to begin is by starting a neighborhood Walking School Bus that runs perhaps once a week (with buses serving as a backup when the weather is inclement). It needs as little as one adult to get it started.
Go to the Walking School Bus site.
For those who prefer to cycle, start a bicycle train. The WWBPA is ready to help.
International Walk to School
Take part in International Walk to School Day, held every October. The WWBPA has marked this for several years with Walk to Hawk and would like to expand this program to other schools. Talk to your child’s principal about joining! E-mail the WWBPA as well. For more information, go to the International Walk to School site.
Don’t forget to e-mail the WWBPA with ideas about how your child’s route to school could be made safer, whether in West Windsor or Plainsboro. Tell your school board members and government officials, too. Together, we can make it happen.
Why Safe Routes to School Matter
Nate Byerley’s video about his daughter’s commute to preschool.