News Releases

September 28, 2007

At least 30 Vermont schools to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 3

MONTPELIER – At least 30 Vermont schools will join schools from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 3, 2007.

Students from across Vermont will walk to school during the week of October 3rd along with parents, teachers and community leaders. Governor Douglas plans to walk with Union Elementary School students in Montpelier on Monday, October 1st.

The Governor’s walk will begin at 8 AM at the Statehouse, continuing to Union Elementary with students, parents and community members joining the walk. Walkers will arrive at the school by 8:30 a.m.

Nationwide, some 5,000 schools representing all 50 states are expected to participate in International Walk to School Day. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.

Walk to School events help promote safer routes for walking and bicycling, as well as emphasize the importance of many issues such as physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

Many of the schools participating this year are also part of the statewide Safe Routes to School program which is a federally funded initiative with a goal of increasing the number of students who safely can walk or ride bikes to school.

The Vermont Safe Routes to School program is administered by the Agency of Transportation (VTrans). Thirty schools across the state have actively participated since the beginning of the 2006-07 school year. The program provides safety education to both students and parents, and has helped schools to work in partnership with local governments to identify infrastructure needs on the routes to school.

VTrans is currently evaluating proposals for infrastructure funding, and will be announcing up to $1.5 million in awards before the end of the year. The awards will be for improvements like sidewalks, road crossings, school zone signs, and traffic calming projects. VTrans expects to incorporate new schools into the program in 2008.

For additional information about Walk to School day or the Safe Routes to School program, please contact Jon Kaplan at (802) 828-0059 or at jon.kaplan@state.vt.us.

For additional information, please visit these Web sites:

International Walk to School in the USA www.walktoschool.org

National Center for Safe Routes to School www.saferoutesinfo.org

International Walk to School www.iwalktoschool.org

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 USA.

Today, more than 5,000 schools in the USA participate in International Walk to School Day. Nearly 4 million people participate in approximately 40 countries as part of International Walk to School.

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 U.S. 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.

Source: Agency of Transportation
Last Updated at: September 28, 2007 09:31:28