District students and families joined communities across the country and the world on October 9, 2013 to celebrate International Walk to School Day. Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment, and building connections between families, schools, and the broader community.
To date, 21 DC schools have registered Walk to School Day events on the program’s website and the total number of participating schools is expected to grow throughout October, which is International Walk to School Month.
Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Northeast DC encouraged students to bike or walk to school on October 9 by instituting a one-day car tax. All parents who drove directly to the school in a car were asked to pay the $1 car tax. To help parents avoid the car tax, the school provided parent volunteers to accompany walking school buses and bike trains from the Franciscan Monastery parking lot at 14th Street and Quincy Street NE. Students, parents and staff were on hand to cheer for students as they walked and biked up the last portions of the steep hill on Oakview Terrace directly in front of the school. Students gathered inside the school for a brief safety assembly before heading to class. This year’s celebration included representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), Safe Kids Worldwide, Children’s National Medical Center and FedEx.
On Capitol Hill, students from about a dozen schools gathered at Lincoln Park for their annual International Walk to School Day celebration. Several Capitol Hill schools host similar events on a weekly basis. This year’s event partnered with “The Long Short Walk” a global campaign for pedestrian safety in partnership.
At Ross Elementary School, student walkers were greeted by mounted Metropolitan Police officers and as well as McDuff the Crime Dog.
Shepherd Elementary School celebrated International Walk to School Day for the first time. Families gathered at Marvin Caplan Park and traveled to school via a Walking School Bus supervised by parent volunteers and school staff members.
About DC Safe Routes to School Program
Walking and biking to school leads to healthier children and less traffic. DDOT’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program works to make it safer, more convenient, and more fun to get to school on foot or by bicycle. SRTS is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. To learn more about the SRTS, please visit the program’s website or follow it on Facebook.