The Commute

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Washington celebrates Walk to School Month

October 4th, 2011 by ed friedrich

It’s October, and that can only mean International Walk to School Month. About 15,000 Washington students, parents, teachers and community leaders from our state will participate. Many of the events are part of the Safe Routes to School program. Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Suquamish and I think Brownsville all got money for sidewalks and paths. The grant program has awarded nearly $29 million to 90 communities since 2005.

Fifty-four Washington schools have events planned, though I didn’t see any from our area. Nationwide, they’re expecting 3,200 schools from all 50 states to participate, joining walkers from 40 countries.

After a day of people watching at the Puyallup Fair, there’s no secret we need to do more walking and riding. I don’t know what the rules are, but they should be that anybody who lives within a mile of their school needs to hoof it. No buses. Parents should only drive them if the weather makes it unsafe.

I’m one to talk. It didn’t take my kid long to get tired of walking to the bus stop, which was maybe 400 yards away, and I wound up driving him to school most of the time. Everybody did it. The parking lot was jam packed. People created a traffic jam every day trying to get in there.

I lived so far away from school I never had a chance to walk. Would’ve taken me hours, except for a few months when we moved to Bellevue. Then the school, Tillicum Junior High, was half a block up the street. Pretty sweet. Most of the time I lived in the lone house up a half-mile dirt driveway, so just getting back and forth to the bus stop was pretty good exercise. In the winter when it was dark in the morning and dark at night it could also be pretty spooky.

So get out and walk, and I’ll try to do the same.

 

 

2 Responses to “Washington celebrates Walk to School Month”

  1. Larry Davis Says:

    Ironic … the International Walk to School Month is conducted at the same time WA State school districts are conducting the School Bus Count accounting program which is a source of funding for districts; especially important to those districts that shift a significant portion of the General Education funds to transportantion expenses. These districts often “promote” taking the buses during Bus Count Week to generate higher state funding. Then again, we have “International Walk to School” Month. Ironic!

  2. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “…These districts often “promote” taking the buses during Bus Count Week to generate higher state funding….”

    I wondered about that a few years ago and was assured it was okay to do and quite necessary. Not really ‘stacking the deck;’ or a ‘con’ to pile up the numbers for more money…and the kids understand it is not illegal to do such things when it is deemed necessary.
    It must be confusing to be a kid in school these days.