October is International Walk to School Month. At our local elementary, we don’t discriminate. Walk, bike, hike, skip or even take the bus. Just don’t drive to school in October!
Our elementary school received a Seattle Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School grant last year. We’re using some of the funds from the grant to host a Walktober celebration this month. Kids keep track of their “active” trips to school and earn prizes if they make a minimum number of trips by foot, bike or scooter (any way other than a personal automobile).
Basically we’re bribing them.
We should really give prizes to the parents. What do you think would work? massages? coffee? gift certificates to the pub?
Cause it’s really up to the parents to make it happen.
I walked to school from the age of 5, on. It seems strange to me that so many kids don’t walk to school these days. Is there some perceived danger that parents are trying to protect their kids from?
If I hadn’t had to carry my trombone to school every other day, I would have been one of the cool kids who rode their bikes to school. If only I’d had an xtracycle in high school.
“perceived safety” is right. I don’t think the streets are any less safe than when we were kids (with the exception of cell phone chatting drivers – we didn’t have to worry about them when we were kids).
Bad news just travels farther and faster these days.
My daughter will most likely be an Xtracycle riding middle and high school-er. She’s already requested one!
I wonder… And this is totally personal for me. But my daughter takes the bus to school and back every day. She loves it. I actually really want to pick her up via bike a few days and she refuses to let me b/c she loves the bus. great right?
However I am so disconnected from the parents and frankly have not made any friends and feel like the lone outsider who doesn’t give a crap about her kid b/c I don’t go to school etc. ( like I said personal to me!) I would love some kind of “send your kid on the bus and meet up other parents at a coffee shop with your free time” kind of thing. Don’t know if that is an issue for your school area/ parents etc.
Otherwise, I’m not sure. If we lived close enough to not qualify for free busing, we’d walk/bike without any incentives. Maybe get someone to giveaway those HUGE umbrellas as walking in the rain would be my only issue…
Yes – I’ve heard that same concern from parents who send their kids on the bus (as well as parents who drop off and head to work).
I do know a couple of parents who ride the bus with their kids (when they volunteer at school etc) and then walk home. Not sure if all school districts allow parents to ride the bus. But I thought that was a great way to get to know other kids and connect with parents at school.
I remember as a kid walking to school as early as kindergarten because we didn’t own a car or my mother didn’t know how to drive. This included in heavy rains. But back then, it was considerably more safe to be outside of the parents view, I lived in a small town, kids were more independent.
Seattle just announced their 2010 student assignment plan that “forces” families to go to their neighborhood school.
We’ll see if the sidewalks are more crowded than the streets next year.
BTW… If you go to Yehuda Moon, bicycle comic strip, theres a good one about walking to school a few days ago.
On the Yehuda Moon comic, it was the 9/20 strip. Good one.
Oddly, one place where this campaign hasn’t made a dent is at the UNIS – United Nations International School, down the road from the UN building in Manhattan. I pass by there every weekday morning and it’s a jungle of diplomatic plates maneuvering to get their kids as close to the door as possible. The school sends out two workers to direct traffic, but it’s still a chaotic scene: the street literally clogged with cars, pedestrians trying to walk between them, bike commuters trying to ride between them (the road intersects the bike path). It’s an ugly mess. I had hoped world leaders could aim a little higher.
That reminds me of this NYT article from a couple years ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/24/nyregion/24limos.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2
I’m guessing nothing has changed at the 92nd Street Y either.