As we prepare for the holiday season, the Santa Clara SR2S team wanted to share an early gift with you. Now available, both in this blog post and on our Resources page, is our First Year Report for the Santa Clara SR2S program. In it, you will find a comprehensive review of all our activities from December of 2011 through June of 2012.
Do you remember walking to school? Maybe you were even lucky enough to ride your bike. In 1969, roughly 50% of students across the country walked or biked to school. Those numbers have dropped in the following 40 years, to an astoundingly low 13% of students in 2009. The staff at Santa Clara Safe Routes to School is doing our best to reverse that trend.
Monthly Walk & Bike to School Days
The Santa Clara Safe Routes to School Team has recently scheduled monthly Walk and Bike to School Days at four elementary schools in the Santa Clara School District. Montague, Briarwood, Sutter, and Haman Elementary will all be having monthly themed walking events and group walking days to help promote a more active lifestyle. Montague got the ball rolling with a November Umbrella Walk. About 50 students showed their participation by adding their name to an umbrella poster.
Sound Fun? Join In!
To join your school in its efforts, these are the days to write down:
- Haman Elementary: First Wednesday of each month
- Montague Elementary: First Thursday of each month
- Briarwood Elementary: Second Tuesday of each month
- Sutter Elementary: Last Wednesday of each month
These schools will look forward to Winter Walks (December) and Heart Health Walks (January) in the coming months. Want to join in the fun? We challenge everyone to get out of their seat and move their feet; every day can be a Walk and Bike to School Day!
Bring a Monthly Walk and Bike to School Day to You School
Interested in volunteering and/or leading a walking group during a monthly Walk and Bike to School Day? Talk to your school principal or email email@example.com. Don’t forget to check our calendar often to stay up-to-date on all Safe Routes to School happenings.
On September 28, 2012, Montague Elementary held Bike to Family Fun Night from 5-6pm. The Safe Routes to School team was present, working to make this event fun and educational for both students and parents. We hosted a “Snail Race,” free mechanic work (provided by Calmar Bicycles), a picture board, and lent helmets to those in need. We had over 70 students and parents with bicycles come to the event. This exceeded our expectations and turned out to be a huge success. For the hour we were present, kids continuously participated in the “Snail Race”, the mechanic helped fix about 40-50 bicycles, and parents captured many photos of their kids’ smiling faces in the picture board. There were many kids that were using their bikes for the first time in months; they were clearly excited to be riding them too! The blacktop was bustling with kids riding their bikes.
This event also served as an opportunity to gather feedback from parents about “Safe Routes to Schools Maps” that were developed for parents and students to utilize for walking and biking to school. Once the maps are complete, they will be made available to the entire school, which can also be used to identify walking school bus routes.
Crystal Martin, our SRTS champion and teacher at Montague exclaimed, “Family Fun Night went amazingly! All of the parents and students have been talking about how much fun it was and how great it was that they were having bike repairs.” Bike to Family Fun Night was a great community-building event.
If you are interested in hosting a similar event at your school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data gathered through student travel tallies and parent surveys conducted in February show that six schools in Santa Clara have between 16% to 32% of their students walking or biking to or from school. These are some good numbers, considering the national average is at around 15%. But we’re sure we can do much better. With the almost-perfect California weather and pretty good infrastructure, almost all students should be able to walk or bike to school on a regular basis. Results show that less than 5% of students are biking to school.
There are many benefits to walking and biking: for health, the environment, and for fun! Students that bike or walk to school benefit from increased levels of daily physical activity, help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution around schools, and arrive to school more awake and ready to learn.
As you may have heard, our efforts to increase walking and bicycling at these schools are already under way. Over 500 students at Briarwood, Bowers, Haman, Montague, Scott Lane, and Sutter Elementary will receive pedestrian and bicycle education during April and May.
If you would like to assist with bicycle and pedestrian skills training, including bike rodeos, please email Anna@bikesicilionvalley.org.
Stay tuned for more updates. In the meantime, we’d like to encourage you to walk and bike to school with your kids whenever possible.