BOSTON -- Thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children will celebrate Walk and Bicycle to School Day by participating in events promoted through the Commonwealth’s Safe Routes to School Program on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.
“Students who have the option to walk or bike to school should absolutely do it,” said Governor Deval Patrick “It’s a great way for them to get physical activity, fresh air and time with their friends or family so they can arrive to school ready to learn.”
Last year, 162 schools from across the Commonwealth participated in this event, making it the largest yet. Since then, MassDOT’s Safe Routes to School program has added more than 100 new partner schools.
In the Safe Routes to School program, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) works with students, parents, school staff and local police departments across the Commonwealth to promote walking and bicycling to school.
“The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is committed to building infrastructure improvements near and around our community schools so that children can safely walk or bicycle to school,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO, Richard A. Davey. “Massachusetts Walk and Bicycle to School Day reminds us that walking to school can be a fun, healthy and safe way to get to school. These efforts strongly support our goals of promoting healthy transportation modes through the GreenDOT initiative and Healthy Transportation Compact.”
Increasing the number of students who walk and bicycle to school helps improve students’ health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.
According to the US Department of Transportation, less than 16 percent of children walk or bicycle to classes; at the same time, school-related traffic can contribute more than 10 percent of morning rush hour traffic volumes in some communities, as well as significant air pollution. MassDOT established the Massachusetts Walk to School Day in 2007 as a statewide initiative to fight against these trends and to encourage healthy choices.
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Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the MassRIDES travel options program on behalf of MassDOT. The Safe Routes to School program is a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic transportation reform law. The Healthy Transportation Compact is a ground-breaking collaboration between the departments of transportation, health and human services, and energy and environmental affairs that is designed to promote best practices, increase efficiency, and achieve positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation and public health policy. Safe Routes to School enables direct collaboration between the Commonwealth and schools and communities to promote walking and bicycling transportation as fun, safe and sustainable travel options.
For transportation news and updates, visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.