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​Make Back-to-School a Walk in the Park

9/3/2019

safe routes to schoolPublic Health’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) works with school administrators, local law enforcement, parents, and the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT), to improve opportunities for children to safely walk or bike to school. Luckily, Mecklenburg County is home to robust SRTS movements at the local level which help:

  • Coordinate regular walking and bicycling events at schools like the walking school bus or bike train as well as national and international walk to school days. (The next BIG event is National Walk to School Day; October 2.)
  • Improve walking and bicycling conditions around schools by working with CDOT and law enforcement agencies to make changes like adding/moving crosswalks, adding/moving stop signs, etc. for safer pedestrian-friendly routes.
  • Create sustainable SRTS programs by having a consistent SRTS champion to help coordinate and promote events.
  • Assess and map-out a safe route for walking/biking/scootering to school.

 

There are also countless benefits for kids when they walk or bicycle to school:

  • Better focus in the classroom.
  • Get out all of the jitters before it’s time to learn.
  • Learning and using safety skills.
  • Built-in exercise to and from school.

 

 
This revamped program allows any local elementary or middle school to partner with Mecklenburg County Public Health to receive support, resources, and technical assistance with Safe Routes to School programming. Our goal is to help schools begin and expand successful programming in a consistent and intentional way. Any parent or teacher interested in the program should talk with their principal to decide if the program is right for them. Schools without nearby housing can also get involved through walk at school events. 

Partner schools can move through four partnership levels (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) based on their commitment to SRTS programming. Schools may self-report additional activities to receive credit and move through the partnership levels. With each level, the school will receive a window decal to proudly display their commitment to making biking and walking to school safe and fun!

For more information visit MeckHealth.org.