Transportation Choices Include Walking or Biking to School
As more families become interested in a healthy lifestyle, more parents are considering walking or biking with their kids to school or forming small neighborhood groups that walk or bike together. The Safe Routes to School program is helping to make it safer for more children to walk and bike to school.
What is Safe Routes to School?Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a growing international movement to increase the number and safety of kids walking and biking to school. A federally funded program, SRTS is being adopted in communities across the nation to address skyrocketing childhood obesity rates, poor air quality and the resulting crashes and injuries due to increased traffic near schools. Where it’s safe, students are encouraged to walk or bike to school. Where it’s not safe, community advocates work on making it safe so that more children can participate.
Why is Safe Routes to School important?When Safe Routes to School first started in Denmark more than 30 years ago, community leaders saw a dramatic increase in child pedestrian fatalities. Safe Routes to School programs teach children how to walk and bike safely wherever they go. In addition to the benefits of increased physical activity, more and more research shows that students who are more physically active, including biking and walking to school, perform better academically
How does Safe Routes to School work?Safe Routes to School requires a collaboration among parents, students, school staffs and community agencies. This team identifies potential routes to school and any barriers that keep students from walking or biking then come up with solutions to overcome the barriers. Through education, engineering, encouragement and enforcement SRTS programs increase the number and safety of children walking and biking to school.
Safe Routes to School in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County
The first Safe Routes to School (SRTS) workshops in this area were held in the fall of 2006. From those workshops, Kimberley Park and Sherwood Forest elementary schools developed SRTS programs and held regular walk to school days. In 2010 the City of Winston-Salem received a Safe Routes to School grant from the North Carolina Safe Routes to School Program for education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation efforts. Six pilot schools participated in Safe Routes to School during the 2010-11 school year: Clemmons Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Kernersville Elementary, Kernersville Middle, Kimberley Park Elementary, and Sherwood Forest Elementary. Any school can start a Safe Routes to School program if parents and staff are interested.
More information about the national Safe Routes to School program is available at www.saferoutesinfo.org.
For information about the local program, contact SRTS Coordinator Judi Wallace at 336-768-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.