Safe Routes to School Program

Safe Routes to School is a popular national movement to increase the number of students walking and biking to school. The program is a great way for children to get regular physical activity, to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and to increase the safety of our neighborhoods.

Last year the City partnered with the Whatcom County Health Department and Bellingham School District on a Safe Routes to School pilot program at Larrabee Elementary School. The project included bicycle and pedestrian safety education, increased enforcement, a neighborhood awareness campaign and promotional events at school. Parents, teachers, students and school staff all worked together to successfully implement the program.

In 2008 – 2009 the city will be working with Birchwood Elementary School and Shuksan Middle School to implement Safe Routes to School programs. These programs will be tailored to the specific needs of each school community. A special component of the middle school program will be educating students about the environmental impacts of their travel choices. In addition, students will learn how to navigate our local transit system.

If you are interested in setting up a Safe Routes to School program at your school, there are several steps you can take:

  • Celebrate Walk to School (October) and Bike to School (May) days with promotions and incentives at school.
  • Establish "Walking Wednesdays" or "Two Feet Tuesdays" - promote and encourage students to walk to school every week on a specific day.
  • Set up a "Walking School Bus" - a group of children walking to school with one or more adults.
  • Set up "Bike Trains" - a group of children biking to school with one or more adults.
  • Offer walking and biking safety education at school assemblies.
  • Offer a "Bike Rodeo" - bicycle safety skills course.

Safe Routes to School Resources