RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Commuters will see increased foot traffic on the neighborhood roadways and around schools today. October 3 marks International Walk to School Day. Schools, towns, public health organizations, and parents have organized walking school buses, group walks and other activities to highlight and celebrate the benefits of picking “green” transportation to school.
More than 100 Virginia schools have registered on the official website, www.walkbiketoschool.org. The total number of participating schools is expected to grow throughout October, which is National Walk to School Month.
Walk to School Day encourages students to build a support system among teachers, and parents for walking and biking to school year-round.
You can expect VDOT and the Department of Health and Human Services to join students at Linwood Holton Elementary, 1600 W Laburnum Ave, Richmond. The walk will start in a nearby parking lot and continue approximately for a half-mile to the school. The event is organized by the Richmond City Health District and Richmond City Public Schools, with support from Prevention Connections and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
About International Walk to School Day
- Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day.
- In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.
- The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the United States.
- The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) manages Virginia’s statewide Safe Routes to School Program, providing funding, technical assistance and other resources to local communities to encourage safe walking and biking to school.
- Since 2007, VDOT has awarded over $17 million in funding to communities in Virginia for Safe Routes to School activities.
- Walk to School Day began as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity, and concern for the environment.
- Organizations supporting International Walk to School Day in the United States include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.