If your children are walking, biking, or taking the bus to school, they must take appropriate safety precautions. Planning a route to school or to the bus stop with the fewest number of street junctions and intersections that have guards at the junctions is essential. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) encourages Colorado schools to participate in Walk to School Day (October) and Bike to School Day (May) every year. These are great opportunities for children to practice their skills and safety regulations, as well as for parents and caregivers to experience how safe and fun it is for their kids to walk or bike to and from school.
The National Alliance for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) works to set goals, share best practices, leverage funding for infrastructure and programs, and promote policy change to help agencies that implement Safe Routes to School programs. SRTS programs can be implemented by a transportation department, a metropolitan planning organization, a local government, a school district, or even a school. Parents can record the trips of several children from the same household by creating more travelers in the application settings. The program also supported an ongoing partnership between the school and the school program with the Utah Gold Medal to reduce overweight and obesity rates in elementary schools and promote good nutrition and regular physical activity.
Walking school buses are an excellent way for students to travel as a group, as they have pick-up points that allow those who live too far from home to reach school only on foot. Elementary and middle school students from District 51 are invited to participate in the Spring Walk & Roll Challenge from March 1 to April 30. Schools across the valley are encouraged to participate in Spring Walking Day, 26 percent of those enrolled in school, on Wednesday, May 3, and recruit students to walk, bike, or ride to school. There are many resources available at a national center, including a guide to the SRTS, parent surveys and student counts, and simple strategies such as the walking school bus that schools can use to support students on foot and bike.
Other elements of the SRTS program include regular activities for walking or biking to school, presentations on SRTS for parents, and continuing to encourage parents to reduce parental dropout. Last October, Lincoln Orchard Mesa Elementary School won the School vs. School challenge with 240 young people participating. The mobile application helps users plan their route to school using the starting and ending points of any local address and of any school in District 51. October is Colorado Pedestrian Month so any day of Walktóber is a great choice for promoting walking and walking ease.