By LESLIE COLLINS
October 16, 2013
Students and their families from across the Kansas City metro walked to school on Wednesday, Oct. 9, as part of International Walk to School Day (IWTS). More than 40 area schools participated, including two in Northeast: Gladstone Elementary and James Elementary. This year’s participation was up by 21 percent.
Walk to School Day aims to stress the importance of creating safe routes for children to walk and bicycle to schools. These events also help emphasize positive benefits of walking – creating a sense of community, increasing physical activity and using alternative modes of transportation to driving. According to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, private vehicles are often used to transport students to schools, even for short distances of one-quarter to one-half of a mile.
Area schools, along with more than 4,000 elementary schools across the U.S., held special events on Oct. 9 and throughout the week to celebrate IWTS Day.
“Walking or bicycling are enjoyable activities that allow young students time for physical activity and socialization and help build a sense of responsibility,” said Aaron Bartlett, senior transportation planner at the Mid-America Regional Council. “It allows kids to get outdoors and interact with friends, parents and neighbors. The entire community benefits when there is less traffic congestion around schools at peak travel times.”