Walking or biking to school provides simple solutions to some very complex issues most cities face:
- Children are less active and less healthy
- Traffic and pollution around schools is a source of many negative safety and health impacts
- Communities are confronted with competing funding needs to address these impacts.
Walking and biking to school programs are low cost solutions that provide children with needed activity while simultaneously reducing traffic and pollution at school sites. Even when funding is sought for robust SRTS programs, they come with a much smaller price tag than larger transportation-related projects.
Just as importantly, walking or biking to school with your children provides a unique opportunity to spend a few car-free moments talking about safety, responsibility and community. Children learn from their parents' examples, so we suggest parents take advantage of a short walk to school and teach important lessons such as stopping at curbs, crossing at corners, looking in all directions, being respectful to neighbors and what to do in an emergency.
So the question really is why NOT walk or bike to school?
Walking and biking to school on a regular basis is easier for some families than others. It's also important to note that walking or biking to school does not necessarly mean every day. Each day and every block not driven can make a big difference. For those who need to drive to school for any reason, or are feeling pressed for time, we suggest you start with a 3 Block Challenge and see how easy it is. By parking just a few blocks away and walking the rest, you'll be helping reduce the traffic and pollution around the schools without making a daily commitment. Plus, your kids will love it and you'll have some extra time together instead of rushing from your front door to the front door of the school. Carpooling may be another option for some families that could also help save time and money, while reducing congestion around schools.