Today is Walk to School Day, and school kids everywhere will be out in force. I, for one, am glad to see it.
Now, lots of kids all over the world walk to school every day; what makes today's trip to school such a special event?
- Today's big walk calls attention to safety issues that are so important. These kids need safe streets--roads in passable condition and drivers who are attentive to the kids' presence.
- The large turnout of kids walking instead of being driven by their parents means that the Walk to School takes cars off the street. From this, kids learn about responsible environmental stewardship.
- These kids are engaging in healthy physical activity.
Today's events are part of the Safe Routes to School program, funded by DOT's Federal Highway Administration. We need walking and bicycling to be safe transportation options for our kids. This means creating safe environments:
- sidewalks or bicycle-paths that connect homes with schools
- child-friendly opportunities to cross streets; and
- slow vehicle speeds through roadway safety measures and law enforcement.
Of course, there is one thing we can all do easily: reduce our driving speeds. In communities with kids biking, walking, and scootering to and from school, there is no question that driving slower saves lives.
Today, our kids are showing us the more walkable, sustainable world we need. Let's hope we're all paying attention.