October 8, 2013
Students, parents, families and educators across the Kansas City regional will walk to school on Wednesday, Oct. 9, as part of International Walk to School Day (IWTS). More than 40 area schools have announced plans to participate — a 21 percent increase from last year.
Walk to School Day events help to stress the importance of creating safe routes for children to walk and bicycle to schools. These events also help emphasize the 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.
Many area schools, along with more than 4,000 elementary schools across the country, will hold special events on Oct. 9 and throughout the week to celebrate IWTS Day. Northeast schools signed up to participate include Gladstone Elementary and James Elementary. A comprehensive list of participating area schools and activities is available on the local Walk to School KC website, www.walktoschoolkc.com.
“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.”