With the hustle and bustle of the new school year settling down, October is right around the corner, or should I say Walk-tober? Intercity Transit wants to invite students across the area to Walk N Roll to school this October. The cities of Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey will be proclaiming October as Walk to School Month. And kids across the world will be walking to school and celebrating International Walk to School Day.
Throughout October, Intercity Transit will work together with local schools to promote walking and biking to school by partnering with North Thurston, Olympia, and Tumwater school districts. “We want families to get excited about walking and biking, so youth feel confident to do it throughout the year,” says Kerri Wilson, youth education specialist for Intercity Transit.
Walking and biking to school is a great choice for students that has many benefits, both for them and their community. Walking and biking are healthy and good for the environment. When more students walk and bike to school it reduces congestion and air pollution around the school. And fewer students being dropped off by cars at school means less traffic around the area, making it safer for all students who walk and bike there.
Nine area schools will participate in regular monthly Walk N Roll to school events throughout the school year. “It’s a really good community building event,” says Wilson. “Kids get to walk with their friends and family, and sometimes with their principals or teachers, and it’s just a fun thing for them to do,” she adds. Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program helps schools by providing all the supplies like safety vests, umbrellas, promotional posters, as well as prizes for students that participate.
ntercity Transit also puts the call out to police departments, fire departments, and local elected officials to join them in these fun Walk N Roll events. “It’s very common for our walk and roll events to have firefighters or police officers in attendance,” says Wilson, “we’ve had Mayor Pete Kmet join us at many events. The superintendents for the school districts, different city council members and school board members come out to support us as well.”
Some schools have meeting locations where everyone gathers at a predetermined spot at a specific time, and they walk together to the school from those meeting locations. “What’s great about those Walk N Roll events,” says Wilson, “is it allows people, who are too far away to walk regularly, to drive and park and then walk, which still reduces traffic congestion around the school, and everyone gets in some healthy physical activity.”
Other school’s Walk N Roll events simply encourage kids to walk or bike to school and then greet them there with prizes and a celebration. New this year, Intercity Transit is introducing some extra fun surprises to greet kids at school, so be on the lookout for their fun new incentives.
Walk N Roll events are organized by different individuals and groups at each school. At some schools, they are organized by teachers or administrative staff, and at others, they are initiated by parents and PTO groups. If you want to see about getting your student’s school on board with Walk N Roll, contact the school to see if they have a Walk N Roll event planned. “We can only work with schools that are walk and bike-friendly,” says Wilson, “we don’t want to encourage students to walk or bike where it is not safe to do so.”
If you want to support students walking and riding bikes to school, you can, and you don’t even have to be a parent or teacher. Simply go online to take Intercity Transit’s Pace Car Pledge. Pace Car Pledge drivers pledge to drive responsibly by driving the speed limit, avoiding distractions, being cautious around kids, stopping for pedestrians and sharing the road with bicyclists. “Children don’t have the same abilities that adults have when it comes to judging the speed of cars and other risk assessments when crossing the street,” says Wilson, so it’s very important that drivers around them practice additional caution to help keep them safe. Those that take the Pace Car Pledge will receive a bumper sticker that they can put on their car to remind others to drive safely.
Schools that are interested in participating in a Walk N Roll event should send an email to Intercity Transit at firstname.lastname@example.org.