BELLEVUE – What do you think about when you see children walking to and from school? Do you worry about their safety? Do you think there is too much traffic congestion near elementary schools?
Those are some of the questions that will be discussed this month, International Walk Your Child to School Month.
The City of Bellevue’s Transportation Department also is asking these questions, and is currently reaching out to elementary schools to help teach children pedestrian safety and encourage them to walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus to school.
This October, the city, in partnership with the Bellevue School District, will work with eight elementary schools to plan Walk to School events. These assemblies emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.
At three of the elementary schools, so-called Walking School Buses will be demonstrated the morning of the Walk to School event. A walking school bus is a parent-guided walking route with specific stops for children at specific times. Bellevue police motorcycle officers will serve as escorts during some of the events.
The city is also in the second year of its Trips to School pilot program, which works with schools to develop a year-long program to encourage students to walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus. The goal of the program is to reduce traffic congestion around the schools during the busy drop off and pick up periods.
“We know that one day these children will be drivers and we want them to know that there are other options than driving alone,” said, Goran Sparrman, director of the Transportation Department.
Seven elementary schools are participating in the Trips to School program this year and five elementary schools participated last year. Last year’s program at Sherwood Forest contributed to three percent of the student population changing their travel behavior.
For more information about these two programs, please contact Francine Johnson, Transportation Outreach Coordinator at 425-452-6967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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