Getting There Together: A Message from the Director

(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) October 2, 2014 - It’s been an exciting month for walking and bicycling programs nationwide. We are only half-way through October, International Walk to School Month, and participation in this year’s Walk to School Day  surpassed any previous registration record with over 4,700 registered events, and more events continue to be posted.

It is inspiring to see the enthusiasm and momentum for Walk to School Day grow year after year. More students, families, community leaders and elected officials across the country are getting out of their cars and onto their feet to celebrate the importance of walking and bicycling to school. As the attention grows internationally for Walk to School Day, so does the visibility to the benefits of walking and bicycling. We saw more media coverage for this year’s event than ever before, including articles from CNN and The Washington Post.

For Cotswold Elementary School in Charlotte, NC, Walk to School Day 2014 was an extra special event. Their school had a special visitor, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. I joined Secretary Foxx and hundreds of students, parents and community members in his hometown for their Walk to School Day celebration. I was energized by the excitement and support from the children and the Secretary, and encouraged knowing that our walking and bicycling movement is in a good place with such an enthusiastic leader high up in the USDOT ranks. To read more about Secretary Foxx’s visit, and for photos, take a look at the Fast Lane Blog.

Although the official Walk to School Day event was held on October 8th, Walk to School Day events can take place throughout the month. Please encourage event organizers in your community to register their events at www.walkbiketoschool.org. It’s so valuable to show the number of communities that care about walking and bicycling to school.

We have a busy fall planned at the National Center. Applications for the National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads Mini-Grant Program are due next week on October 22. We are teaming up with Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads Program to provide $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country. For more information and to apply, visit the mini-grant application page.

Also coming up this fall are two National Center webinars. On October 29th, the National Center and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will be hosting, Integrating Safe Routes to School into the Fabric of Your Community: The Role of the Comprehensive Plan. The following month on November 18th, we will be presenting a webinar on youth engagement. Stay tuned for more details in the coming week.

Thank you all for your hard work and strong visions at schools and in communities across the country. These efforts sustain and institutionalize the movement for active transportation. Every October we get the opportunity to watch it grow.