Pine City Participates in International Walk to School Day
At present, fewer than 15% of children K-8 walk or bike to school and nearly 50% of school aged children are regularly driven to school by their parents. Coinciding with the declining numbers of children walking and biking to school is an increase in childhood obesity and Type II diabetes.
The City of Pine City is working with the local elementary schools to identify improvements that will make biking and walking to and from school a more pleasant experience.
Safe Routes to School (STRS) is a grant program in the federal transportation bill, SAFETEA –LU, designed to improve the conditions and quality of bicycling and walking to school. The goal of the program is to reverse the 30 year decline in the numbers of children walking to school and reintroduce opportunities for regular physical activity.
For the first time, Pine City will participate in International Walk to School Day, to be held October 8. That day, parents are encouraged to walk their children to or from school and complete a simple, one-page survey which data will be used in making a local case for the 2009 SRTS pool of grant money.
In the U.S., International Walk to School Day is expected to include 5,000 schools from all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.
Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and 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.
This year, North Branch received $ 173,500 out of the same funds to complete two trail segments that will safer routes to its students, while finishing a loop connection between downtown and the library, and the future community center and ice arena.
Pine City now hopes it will receive funds as well as this is the final round of the grant program under SAFETEA –LU.