At West Portal Elementary on Wednesday October 7th, it is Walk and Roll to School Day. The day is part of the Safe Routes to School program, which promotes students and their families to go to school via walking or biking. Students are welcome to meet at 8 am on October 7th to go to school via the Walking School Bus, bicycling or with the scooter brigade. All groups will leave promptly at 8:10 am from the church parking lot on Taraval near Funston. Free stuff will be handed out at the school for all students that participate by walking or biking to school.
The Safe Routes to School program, administered through the San Francisco Department of Health in connection with Walk SF and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, encourages students to walk or bike to school using a multi-faceted approach called the “5 Es:”
Evaluation – Monitoring and documenting outcomes, attitudes and trends through the collection of data before and after the intervention(s).
Engineering – Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.
Education – Teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.
Encouragement – Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling and to generate enthusiasm for the program with students, parents, staff and surrounding community.
Enforcement – Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure that traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and proper walking and bicycling behaviors) and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs and student safety patrols.
The most important part of this program is to promote safer streets around our school. Each day my family travels to school either by walking or riding our bicycles. Safety for my family is the first priority, so remember if you have to drive to school, watch and yield to pedestrians and always look in your side mirrors to be aware of cyclists before pulling into or out of parking spaces at school, you might just see my family making their way to school.
Come and celebrate safer streets for our school on October 7th!