Los Angeles, CA (September 26, 2014) – Students and their families and teachers from all over Los Angeles will participate in Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 8. Organizers of the second annual citywide event, which is part of International Walk to School Day, are recruiting schools to register now and hope to double the participation from 50 to 100 schools.
“By walking together, we build community and make connections,” says John Deasy, Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). “It’s a great way to celebrate healthy activities and safe school zones.”
LAUSD is partnered with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), with the goal of increasing school and community awareness of the value of walking to school, including regular physical activity, increased school attendance, and better health. Students from Marina del Rey to North Hollywood will also learn basic pedestrian safety, including waiting for a signal and looking left and right before crossing at a crosswalk.
“It’s fun and reminds us that we all walk, whether we bike, ride transit, or drive,” says Seleta Reynolds, LADOT General Manager. “We are taking care to make the journey to school safe and enjoyable year round.”
LADOT supports Walk to School Day as an important component of its Safe Routes to School Initiative. In addition to providing planning and logistic support, LA DOT is providing small incentives to children walking and rolling to school, acknowledging the children’s commitment to walk on this and future days. Schools are also encouraged to use walkability checklists and student tallies to evaluate travel routes and document personal and traffic safety concerns.
To plan your school event, call 323-942-WTSD (9873) and someone will help you customize your Walk to School Day so it’s a success. Spanish-speaking assistance is available.
Walking to school is not just a one day or “Walktober” activity. LADOT hopes to institutionalize the habit of walking and biking. This year, they will work closely with a subset of schools for the remainder of the school year to help their programs endure. The benefits for children are well documented, and they include:
Time with friends and/or with a caring adult
Time outdoors in the natural world
Active movement that improves concentration once at school