Walktober! Participate in Walk to School Day on October 6th

R.D. White Elementary School – Glendale Walk to School Day 2009.  Photo courtesy of Kara Sergile.

R.D. White Elementary School – Glendale Walk to School Day 2009. Photo: Kara Sergile.

Since 1997, communities around the U.S. have been celebrating Walk to School Day. In 2009, over 3,300 walking events registered their participation in Walk to School events. How many will this year? How are those of us in Southern California supporting this great event?

Walk to School Day on October 6th, is an event that helps communities get involved and excited about Safe Routes to School.  The Safe Routes to School movement is something everyone can be a part of.  And it’s easy to find local examples on how to get a program started with cities like Glendale City Council proclaiming October, International Walk-to-School Month for the entire city.  On October 6th, due to the impressive efforts of Kara Sergile, a parent and community member, and many others, over 16 schools in the city are participating in Walk to School events.  One school has chosen a theme for their event – “Walk of Fame” – Hollywood style – so as students arrive at school from their walk, they will be able to walk the red carpet and put down their own star on the “Walk of Fame”!

Another reason to be excited for Walktober is CicLAvia.  No doubt you’ve heard of this event coming up on Sunday October 10th, where over 7 miles will be opened for walking and bicycling and closed to cars.  Families, kids and all are welcome to join the newly established MidDay Ridazz.  MidDay Ridazz are putting together a ride where families meet at each end of the route and ride about 4 miles together to the middle.

Want to get involved in something like this?  Interested in seeing Southern California support more Safe Routes to School efforts?  Contact me at jessica(at)saferoutespartnership.org and find out about the Southern California Safe Routes to School Network. We have a meeting coming up from 10:30 – noon on October 13th – join us if you can.

It’s exciting to hear of LA City Councilmember Jan Perry and her participation in a Walk to School event in South LA, as well as the City of Riverside’s numerous events and great participation and support from Mayor Ron Loveridge.  If you know of other Walk to School events happening – please send that info to me (jessica (at)saferoutespartnership.org) or write in the comments section below.

Halloween isn’t too far away – and it’s good to remember walking school buses – work well as walking trick or treater buses too!

Jessica Meaney is the California Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Jessica coordinates two Safe Routes to Schools networks – one at the State level, and one at the Regional level in Southern California. These networks work to bring together advocacy groups, parents and community members, government agencies and other leaders.  This work is all towards the common goals to: ensure that Safe Routes to School funds succeed in California, leverage additional resources, and address and improve regional transportation policies.   Help grow the Safe Routes to School in California Facebook page.