The start of the school year is like a new calendar year, a time to make resolutions and set goals. It can be a little frenzied, but your school commute doesn’t have to be.
Start a healthy habit: Walking and biking to school can give you quality time together as a family, and studies show that kids who walk and bike have better health and academic performance. But only half of the children in San Francisco who live close enough to walk to school actually do.
San Francisco’s Safe Routes to School program is changing that by promoting walking and biking citywide, focusing on 15 public elementary schools with lessons, special events and increased traffic enforcement around schools. For more information, including a list of the participating schools, go to www.sfsaferoutestoschool.org.
You don’t have to be at one of these 15 schools to walk and bike, though. You can find other parents to share the commute – whether you want to walk, bike, take public transit or carpool – at www.WePool2School.org. Or, if you can’t walk every day, set aside one day a week. Children and parents at Sunnyside Elementary, for example, enjoy Walk and Roll Wednesdays with parents taking turns to lead kids into school from meeting points around the neighborhood.
Walk and Roll to School Day: International Walk and Roll to School Day is coming up on Oct. 9. Last year, 8,500 students at 55 schools participated.
The day is a big celebration: Members of the Board of Supervisors walk with kids in their districts – some walk to two or three schools.
“We love walking to school,” said parent Karina Bekemeier at last year’s Walk to School Day at Buena Vista/Horace Mann K-8 School. “It’s our time together in the morning when we can look around, say hi to neighbors, and get a little exercise to start our day.”
The event is open to all schools in the city. Go to www.sfsaferoutes.org to register your school to participate and get free materials and support.
If you drive, don’t speed: If you need to drive, whether you’re just passing a school or dropping off your kids, be careful and take it slow. Speed is the single biggest factor in how serious a crash can be.
As of last year, 181 San Francisco schools have speed limit zones of 15 mph. At this lower speed, most people will walk away from a collision, and drivers have plenty of time to see and react to people on foot – making streets safer citywide.
If you see drivers ignoring the 15 mph speed limit around a school, call your local police station and request enforcement. Find your district station and phone number at http://bit.ly/SFPDStations.
Walk About Town is presented by Walk San Francisco. Walk SF and its members are reclaiming the city’s streets as safe, shared public space for everyone to enjoy. Find out how you can help make San Francisco a more livable, walkable city and about forthcoming events at http://walksf.org.
Elizabeth Stampe is the former executive director of Walk San Francisco. E-mailq1: [email protected] Walk San Francisco Twitter: @walksf
Source: SF Gate
September 11, 2013
By Elizabeth Stampe