I gave a presentation about sustainable communities on October 6, which happened to be International Walk to School Day. In my talk, I mentioned that, in 1973, sixty percent of American kids walked to school; by 2006, that portion had dropped to a paltry 13 percent. I’ve written before about school sprawl and how the location and design of some schools seems explicitly designed to prevent or discourage access by foot or bicycle.
To counter this, the National Center for Safe Routes to School has sponsored a number of programs, including Walk to School Day (or, as some places called it, “Walk and Roll to School Day”). This year over three thousand schools around the country participated, including 425 in California, from Eureka to Atherton to Beverly Hills and Long Beach.
Laguna Beach was not among them, writes Cindy Sheridan in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Nope, not even for one day does Laguna Beach want its kids getting to school other than in a motor vehicle. It’s just not safe, they argue, probably not without some reason. But riding in a car isn’t exactly safe, either, given that each year some 250,000 children are injured in automobile accidents, including 2000 who die as a result. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between ages two and 14.