Oct. 10, 2022
Regardless of their routine, students and parents throughout the San Lorenzo Unified School District are invited to skip driving to school on Oct. 12 and instead participate in International Walk & Ride to School Day.
The event aims to promote physical activity – with a dividend in students’ mental fitness – while also reducing traffic morning and afternoon congestion around schools and the increased vehicle exhaust that comes with it.
“There are plenty of safe ways to get to and from school,” said San Lorenzo Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp, who is highlighting the event by running to all 17 district school sites throughout the week “Walking and riding are healthy, and they are also better for the environment.”
Both Dayton and Colonial Acres Elementary School will hold special events to recognize students who walk and ride to school that day, and students at all schools are encouraged to take part.
The special day is sponsored locally by the Safe Routes to Schools Program, part of the Alameda County Transportation Commission. The program advocates for safely using active modes of transportation to school, with all the benefits that come with it.
Safe Routes to Schools offers the following facts in support of the initiative:
- In one generation, the number of kids walking and bicycling to school has dropped from 71% to 18%.
- Transportation is responsible for nearly 40% of the Bay Area’s harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- 75% of California students are not able to pass basic fitness standards.
- Travel to school accounts for approximately 21% of all morning traffic.
- Walking and riding to and from school are an easy way for children to get daily physical activity.
What once was the norm has become much less common as parents load children into their vehicles, even when schools are nearby. According to the program, national rates of non-motorized school transportation has fallen from 70% to 18% within a single generation.
Diana Maravilla, health and wellness coordinator for the San Lorenzo district, said events like Walk & Ride to School can contribute to safer streets for the entire community.
“More walkers and riders create greater security because there are more ‘eyes on street,’” she said. “They build connections to neighborhoods and help establish a sense of safety.”