Published on: Saturday, October 1, 2016 Takoma Park Newsletter

Walk to School Day: Just keep walking

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Walk to School Day in Takoma Park and the 20th anniversary nationally. Safe Routes to School invites city students, their families and school staff to participate in Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 5. All SRTS schools in Takoma Park have made Walk to School Day a yearly event on the school calendar.

Over the years, our students have been featured on the front of the Washington Post Metro section, on NPR with Armando Trull and on First Lady Michelle Obama’s blog, Let’s Move. Many dignitaries have come to Takoma Park to walk with our students, including former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, among others. Takoma Park Safe Routes to School has been a model in the county, the state and nationally.

While it is certainly nice to welcome the media attention and high level visitors, one trend stands out: More students are walking to school on a regular basis in Takoma Park this year than ten years ago. Once families choose to participate in Walk to School Day, the idea is that they will decide to make walking a more frequent part of their routine. The benefits of walking to school are obvious. Leaving the car at home reduces congestion and auto emissions, exercise promotes better physical and cognitive health, and it’s fun.

To celebrate Walk to School Day and help parents determine the best route to school, Safe Routes has created walking maps for each school. The maps indicate which roads have sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing guards and stoplights and more. Look for the map in your student’s backpack or on the school website.

Takoma Park Elementary School will meet in front of the Community Center on Maple Avenue at 8:45 a.m. and start walking at 8:50. They will walk up Philadelphia Avenue to Holly Avenue.

Takoma Park Middle School PTA will welcome walkers and bikers to school with refreshments and give-a-ways starting at 7:45 a.m.

Piney Branch Elementary School will meet at the 7600 Maple Avenue at 9 a.m. Walkers will walk on the sidewalk along Maple Avenue to Piney Branch ES.

Check with your school’s administration or PTA for specific details about your Walk to School Day event. Takoma Park Police will be onsite to enhance the safety of the walkers.

Safe Routes to School Online Parent Survey

Please follow the links below to complete the survey for your school.

Safety tips

Here are some tips to stay safe while walking and biking to school:

  •  Pay attention. Don’t be distracted by your cell phone or headphones.
  • Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street as far from traffic as possible.
  • Cross at the crosswalk whenever possible. Stop at the curb. Look left, right and left again before crossing the road.
  • Make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
  • Follow the instructions of the Crossing Guards and Safety Patrols.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.

This article appeared in the October 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.