(Photos © J. Maus)
On October 7th, schools across the country will take part in the annual Walk and Bike to School Day event. Hundreds of schools throughout Portland and Oregon have flourishing walk and bike to school programs and the next week’s event is an important kick-off to the Safe Routes to School season.
Both the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) are making big efforts to use the event to spread the word about their programs and to encourage schools to take part.
What’s the big deal about getting kids to walk and bike to school? According to the National Household Travel Survey, in 1969, 41 percent of children walked and biked to school compared to only 13 percent in 2001. In almost the same period of time, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled.
Elementary in SE Portland during
a Walk and Bike to School Day event
The BTA is leading a charge to reverse that trend. BTA Communications Coordinatory Margaux Mennesson says they’re coordinating a statewide effort centered around their WalkNBike.org website. So far, over 180 schools have registered on the site and the BTA has sent them promotional materials, information about the Safe Routes to School program and prizes for students who participate.
On the day of the event, the BTA is encouraging schools to gather “Dear Congress” letters from parents, kids, and administrators as part of a national campaign being coordinated by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. That organization is trying to garner influence on Capitol Hill so they can request a tripling of funding for Safe Routes in the upcoming federal transportation bill.
PBOT is also planning an event for Walk and Bike to School Day. On the morning of October 7th, James John Elementary in St. Johns will host a press conference featuring Portland Mayor Sam Adams, a member of the Portland Public School Board, and a Kaiser Permanente physician.
In a press release, PBOT said they’re committed to Safe Routes to School because they want to “improve childhood health by showing students and their parents that walking and biking to school is a beneficial, easy alternative to driving”.
More info at WalknBike.org, SafeRoutesPortland.org, and WalktoSchool-usa.org
If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
I thought every day was walk… or ride… to school day 🙂
Don’t forget to remove anything valuable from your child’s bike. I just had the flashers ripped off after parking at Vernon elementary school. Not only rude, but also unsafe.
It is at our house, even when it’s raining, much to my daughter’s dismay. Actually, I think she likes going in the rain once we get out of the house. I’m hoping to see a big turnout, although the racks are usually pretty full at our school (Beverly Cleary) as it is.
Glad someone posted a Yehuda- he has a few that fit this theme. Including this one: http://yehudamoon.com/index.php?date=2008-10-07
Here in Eugene/Springfield we have 27 schools signed up and are pumped for a great W+B Day/Week/Month/Year!!