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