Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

October 9, 2013

Take a walk to school

At the risk of sounding like “old fogies,” we remember walking to school when we were kids.

Back in the day, that’s how it was. If it was within walking distance, you were walking to school.

Today, like much else, it’s a very different picture. The vast majority of kids show up to school in a vehicle.

Within the span of one generation, the percentage of children walking or bicycling to school has dropped dramatically — from approximately 50 percent in 1969 to just 13 percent in 2009. But there are groups out there looking to change that and put the equation back in balance.

Among those groups is the Indiana Safe Routes to School Partnership. It’s encouraging schools and parents throughout the state to help students walk or bike to school today on National Walk to School Day.

If the organization doesn’t ring a bell, it should. To get kids to take active transportation to school, Safe Routes to School is doing more than just talking. Administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation, it makes federal funding available for infrastructure projects that provide safe routes to school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Many in our area have been on the receiving end of that funding.

In Walton, $250,000 was awarded to build sidewalks, crosswalks, curb ramps and signs along roads leading to Thompson Elementary School.

Galveston Elementary School has new sidewalks on Maple and Woodward streets. Before the Safe Routes to School grant, there were no sidewalks leading to the elementary school, forcing students to walk in the street.

We encourage you to participate in Walk to School Day. If you do, you’ll be among thousands across the country making a statement that safe paths for pedestrians and the health of our kids are important.

If your child’s school isn’t participating in an official event, you can still participate as an individual.

If nothing else, it’ll be fun.

Trust us. We have experience walking to school.

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