Fall 2013 Walk and Bike to School Info Session

Parents, teachers, staff, and students across Seattle are beginning another school year. As the instruction and extracurricular activities begin, parents are also planning the school commutes that take tens of thousands of Seattle kids from where they live to where they learn. So It’s a great time to get the creative juices flowing and share ideas for helping more of our kids choose active and sustainable transportation for this coming year.

Come meet with other walk and bike to school organizers and advocates next Tuesday and get things rolling for another school year.

Fall 2013 Info Sharing Session

Tuesday, September 10, from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m.
Ballard branch, Seattle Public Library, 5614 22nd Ave NW

Are you a Safe Routes to School organizer at your local school? A parent interested in starting a program? A community member interested in what the buzz is about and maybe wanting to lend a hand? This meeting is for you.

Next Tuesday evening will be an opportunity to share updates, ideas, and plans for ramping up walking and biking this year.

The agenda will include:

  • “Ballard Bikes” multi-school walk and bike to school plans
  • Creative ideas from individual schools to get more kids walking and biking (share yours with others!)
  • A report from Feet First on October Walk to School Month
  • A report from SDOT on upcoming Safe Routes to School mini-grant opportunities
  • The latest on the School Road Safety Task Force

This event is open to everyone in the community who is interested in increasing walking and biking to Seattle schools. Hope you can join us and please spread the word.

Their are good options for getting to the Ballard library by bike, on foot, or on public transportation. There is bike parking out front and the library is near several bus routes. If you drive, you can park for free in the garage underneath.

Seattle has seen continuing growth in the number of schools promoting active transportation, and in the number of families choosing to commute to school under their own power. Let’s work together to maintain the momentum in 2013-14!

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Walk.Bike.Schools Rolls Into Summer!

Seattle walk and bike to school organizers got together earlier this week and created some end-of-the-school year momentum. We started with a Bike to School Month recap, and also spent some time thinking ahead to the Fall and the 2012-13 school year.

It was a record Bike to School Month here in Seattle, with literally thousands of students participating. There were 3100 elementary age kids who rode on Bike to School Day alone! Cascade staff provided a nice rundown of some of the key numbers for those who are statistically minded. Congratulations to Laurelhurst, Eckstein, and Garfield for winning the inaugural “Golden Pedal” awards for getting the most kids riding this past month at the elementary, middle, and high school levels respectively.
While the statistics are compelling, so are the stories. A couple of highlights:
  • Over 70 Ballard High students  rode on Bike to School Day, plus the core group at Ballard ran a bike donation drive for BikeWorks, and helped as volunteers at West Woodland’s Bike Rodeo too!
  • Loyal Heights Elementary had well over 100 kids riding in the school’s first real year with a program. They are considering starting a bike club at the school next Fall to maintain the momentum! (Ballard overall is a hotbed for bike to school programs; Adams Elementary and Salmon Bay K-8 had really successful years too.)
  • The Thornton Creek bike trains — the first in Seattle — were a huge success, with as many as 35 kids participating, and Wedgwood Elementary had a enthusiastic and growing core group riding throughout May as well.
  • Several other new programs had good participation in their first year, and laid the groundwork for future success. Overall more schools participated in Bike to School Month than ever before. Hearing about schools that are just beginning programs is always inspiring. It takes some work, but with persistence these programs can’t help but grow.
We also heard from Caitlin from Feet First, who talked about the IWalk program and International Walk to School Month in October. There was a lot of interest in focusing in the Fall on promoting walking to school. Caitlin provided an opportunity to sign up for the IWalk mailing list, and Feet First also plans to share info through the walkbikeschools Google Group as well.
Seth from Bicycle Alliance of Washington and the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board also reminded us of the Safe Routes to School Summer Institutes, an upcoming opportunity for folks interested in getting some good training on helping kids walk and bike to school safely:
This August training session is free, and looks to be an excellent way to learn the basics and best practices of starting up and running a Safe Routes to School Program.
As usual, there was some great energy and ideas, and it was just really nice to meet and talk with other folks who are trying to create culture change at their schools. One interesting idea that emerged was to create a “starter kit” — basically an information package to give step by step tips to getting a new program started at a school. Many of us with longer standing programs recall their beginnings, when we had a small handful of families biking and/or walking. It can seem a little daunting when you’re first starting up, especially if you’re a new parent at the school as well. Some info to share techniques for those early stages could be really useful.
Attendees agreed that Walk.Bike.Schools will meet again in the late summer or early fall to gear up for the 2012-13 school year. Look for this next meeting to be hosted by another school in a different part of the city.
It was great to maintain the momentum of these last few months, and look forward to more excitement to come! Thanks to all who could attend!

A Great Kickoff Meeting for Walk.Bike.Schools!

First Walk.Bike.Schools Meeting

Frankly, we’re feeling pretty jazzed here at Walk.Bike.Schools! headquarters. When we started planning this “project,” we weren’t sure if we’d have 5, 10, or 20 of you who’d make the time to come a meeting. In fact, we had 35 or so parents, plus another 5 or so folks otherwise connected with the walk-and-bike-to-school movement in at least 14 schools.  All on a record-busy night for bike and ped meetings. Wow!

We experienced inspirational sharing of insights and ideas from participants. Some real winners included:

  • Make it fun for kids and they can motivate their parents!
  • Let’s develop Buddy Schools to match up existing programs to mentor new programs
  • Target preschools for early bike and walk involvement. That way kids and parents will already be converts when they hit elementary school
  • and many more!

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