“Providing opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school”
Today more than ever, there is a need to provide options that allow all children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school safely. Our community struggles with traffic congestion around our schools which creates safety risks for children that are walking and bicycling to school. A paradox exists, parents that feel it is too unsafe to allow their children to walk or bicycle to school only contribute to making it even more unsafe by adding to the traffic congestion around schools. At the same time, today children in general engage in less physical activity, which helps contribute to the growing epidemic of obesity in our country. At first glance, these problems may seem to be separate issues, but Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs can address all these challenges through a coordinated action plan. The Nevada County SRTS Program can help our community build safer routes to school and implement programs that encourage use of these routes.
What does the Nevada County Safe Routes to School Program do? – We make concerted efforts to educate children in the importance of making healthy travel choices and help them realize the value of incorporating physical activity into their daily routine. We use a variety of education, engineering, enforcement, and evaluation strategies to help make routes safer for children, including encouragement strategies to entice more children and parents to walk and bicycle to school. Each school in Nevada County is faced with a unique situation and each has a set of different circumstances. We assist schools in determining the best course of action needed to help increase the number of children walking and bicycling to their school. Schools in our area do offer places for walking and bicycling but few students are taking advantage of it, we assist community members in designing incentive programs to fit each school site. In some cases children walking and bicycling to school are exposed to unsafe conditions along poorly maintained routes, this prompts parents to not have children walking or bicycling to school at all. One of our program goals is to involve the whole community to try and reverse the trend of driving children to the front steps of school. Parents, children, neighborhood groups, schools, law enforcement officers, community leaders, transportation, and public health professionals help identify the issues and solutions. The Nevada County SRTS program benefits all children, including children with physical and cognitive disabilities.
We remind parents and students that there is no skill, age, or gender barriers that prevent or exclude people from walking, that all you need is the desire and willingness to begin!
What can you do?
· Get involved in SRTS school activities and events!
· Join the Grass Valley Safe Routes to School Task Force!
· Fill out the Parent Survey that is provided to your household!
· Encourage your children to begin walking and bicycling to school!