Safe Routes to School benefits kids and the community

by Christine Green

On a recent Thursday, Vienna Elementary School had only 25 cars in the kiss-and-ride when there are usually 70. This dramatic decrease reduced congestion around the school and improved the morning commute for the entire community. The students attended class but did not arrive in cars.

Today is International Walk and Bike to School Day, and more than 100 schools throughout the region are hosting events to encourage students to walk and bike to school.

Parents driving their kids to school account for 10-14 percent of morning traffic. This one day event makes a big splash and hopes that the school, students and parents will learn how easy it is to change transportation mode even a few days a week.

Reduced congestion is not the only benefit. Reports like F as in Fat have raised alarm about the growing obesity rate. Students who walk or bike to school are more physically active and have lower obesity than students who are bused or driven. Students who are physically active also enjoy better academic performance.