Published on: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

Safe Routes helps kids transition back to school

By the time Takoma Park students read this, summer will be more than half over. The days will be shorter; the Sunday circular will show kids sporting the newest back to school fashion, including backpacks! So much to think about: school supply lists, new shoes, teachers and classes, and keeping the routes to school clear and safe for student traffic. So here is the Safe Routes to School list of ways to enjoy summer’s transition to fall:

  • Decide to walk or bike to school this year. Combat all those hours in the classroom with a few extra minutes outside each morning and afternoon. Experience the changing season each morning as the temperatures get cooler and the days grow shorter.
  • Add reflective gear to your back-toschool shopping list. Many backpacks, shoes and jackets incorporate retro-reflective fabric into the design. Choose items that are bright, so students can be seen while they travel to and from school on foot or by bike.
  • Plan to walk with neighbors and friends every day and on Walk to School Day, Oct. 7. Seek out families who live nearby and make a plan to coordinate supervision by organizing a walking school bus or buddy system.
  • Gamify your walking and biking habits. Count your steps and “walk across the state, the country, around the world.” Challenge yourself to a walking/biking record number of days without driving. Walk in the rain or snow. Make a walking scavenger hunt. Enjoy your time together.
  • Make time to continue your summer yard work regime. Clear overgrown vines, shrubbery, hedges and other vegetation to the edge of the sidewalk. Keep the sidewalks clear so students can get by safely without ending up in the street. Ask your neighbors to do the same.

And most importantly, talk about safety. Plan your routes, discuss best practices for crossing the street, obeying laws and being aware of surroundings. For additional information about Takoma Park Safe Routes to School, contact Lucy Neher,

This article appeared in the August 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.