Yesterday was International Walk and Bike to School Day and 25 schools from all over Portland took part in the event. I caught up with some of the action at Sunnyside School in southeast Portland and just like last year I was thrilled and inspired to see so many kids walking and biking to school.
Sunnyside was chosen as this year’s media school so the event was made more exciting by the presence of dignitaries like Mayor Potter, Commissioner Adams, TV cameras, and free goodies for the kids.
I joined a “bike school bus” at Buckman Elementary (which included one roller-blader and two kids on an Xtracycle) and we rode together to Sunnyside.
At the school, the kids and parents were treated to encouraging words from Mayor Tom Potter, Commissioner Sam Adams (who stopped to talk business with Sacha White), Dr. Mel Cohn and Robert Ping from the BTA.
One of the highlights of the morning was seeing these young kids holding PDOT’s new Share the Road signs. And there’s just something about overflowing bike racks at schools that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Towards the end of the event, I bumped into Jay Shuster and his kids Ezra and Amelia. Jay and family commute from northeast Portland. He calls his tag-long bike and trailer set-up “the train” and said he tries to ride the kids to school about 50% of the time. I asked about how safe he feels on his route and he said he seeks out low traffic streets and hopes Portland gets more separated bike paths and bike boulevard streets like his former hometown of Eugene.
Luckily for Jay his kids go to one of the most bike-friendly schools in the area. For more on Sunnyside’s bikey-ness, check out this new video by Clarence Eckerson of BikeTV. He interviews parents, school staff, and even the school’s bike safety class instructor (yes they have one of those).
But southeast Portland wasn’t the only place in the Walk and Bike spirit. PDOT employee Timo Forsberg relayed that he was out at Parkrose Sacramento Elementary in outer southeast Portland (114th Street) and they had 300 out of 400 kids walk and bike to school! Way to go Sacto!
Don’t miss the rest of my photos in the Walk and Bike to School Day gallery.