Greg Bilyeu 804-786-4243, 804-370-8109
Oct. 9, 2014
VIRGINIA CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY
Largest number of Virginia schools participate since 2004
RICHMOND, Va. — Communities across Virginia and throughout the country joined together yesterday to celebrate International Walk to School Day (iWalk). Schools, public health groups, transportation organizations and parents alike organized group events, “walking school buses,” (adult-led groups who walk along school routes and pick up students as they go) and other activities to highlight and celebrate the benefits of choosing safe, “student-powered” transportation to school.
On Wednesday, staff from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the agency that administers the federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in Virginia, joined William Fox Elementary students in Richmond.
This year’s goal of 200 iWalk events was exceeded with 214 participating schools, the biggest turnout in Virginia since iWalk started in 2004. Last year 187 schools held iWalk events. The Virginia SRTS Program recognizes the many benefits of active transportation.
“International Walk to School Day is a proactive way to encourage walking to school as a healthy and safe habit for parents and kids when they might not have considered it otherwise,” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. “They soon realize all of the benefits walking brings, like improved academic performance, more time with the family and fewer cars idling near the school, to name a few.”
More events are expected to be added throughout October, which is Walk to School Month. For additional information, please contact VDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator Robert Williams at 804-371-4868, or visit these websites:
- VDOT Safe Routes to School Program
- Walk to School Day in the USA
- National Center for Safe Routes to School
About Safe Routes to School
- The Virginia Department of Transportation manages the statewide Safe Routes to School Program, providing funding, technical assistance and other resources to local communities to encourage safe walking and biking to school.
- Since 2007, VDOT has awarded over $22 million in funding to more than 500 schools in Virginia for Safe Routes to School activities.
- Walk to School Day was established in the U.S. in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day.
- In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.
- The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the United States.
- Walk to School Day began as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.
- Organizations supporting International Walk to School Day in the U.S. include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.