Friday, October 2, 2009

Walk to School Day

October 7 is international walk to school day, part of walk to school month. We all know why kids should walk to school: it's good exercise, it helps them know their neighborhood, it gives them a sense of freedom and responsibility, and it keeps cars off the roads (and their emissions out of the air).

This year Unite Escambia Health Solutions Team, along with the mayor, fire chief, and other city representatives, will be at Spencer Bibbs school at 1:45 to to join the kids as they leave for home. On foot. You are welcome to join us. Or you might be interested in organizing a similar event at your own school. There are resources available to help you.

I am excited about this event and hope it will start some discussions on how the city can become more pedestrian-friendly. We are making some strides (pardon the pun). We have a sidewalk program. Last year, for example, Christy Ball took the lead in getting new sidewalks in Cordova Park to make it safer for kids to walk to school. But sidewalks aren't always enough. Lara McKnight, a resident in Scenic Heights, became so concerned about the safety of her kids on their way to school that she is organizing a new neighborhood association to push for improvements. (Want to start a neighborhood association or get involved in one in your neighborhood? Check out the Neighborhood Association How-To Guide or the Neighborhood Resource Guide. Email me, too--I would love to help.)

How can walking be improved in your neighborhood, near your school, or near your church? Try the walkability test. Email me about spots that aren't safe, and we can talk about how the city can help. Together we can build a more pedestrian-friendly city.