MnDOT encourage schools, communities to participate in International Walk to School Day, Oct. 9
Activity supports Safe Routes to School program initiatives
ST. PAUL, Minn. — More than 55 schools statewide are participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 9, to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organization to get out on sidewalks and trails. The event is anticipated to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 countries around the world.
This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe locations to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option also can be used for students who are usually driven to school in private automobiles.
“Partipating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and building connections between families, schools and communities,” said Lisa Austin, MnDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.
International Walk to School Day also encourages parents and community members to help schools conduct a walkability assessment of their neighborhoods. The walkability checklist helps walkers assess what makes the walking environment inviting and safe, as well as identify existing barriers. After the assessment, school staff can help students become advocates for a more walkable community. The walkability assessment is available at:
For more information about The International Walk to School Day, visit: www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/whos-walking/2013/
To get involved, register for the event at www.walkbiketoschool.org. The site includes a variety of useful information for parents and participating schools. Data collected from registrations will be used to make future programs stronger.