Virginia marks Walk to School Day on Oct. 4
Children will be using foot-power to get to class during events planned across the state to celebrate the 11th annual Walk to School Day in Virginia on Oct. 4.
More than 223 schools are already signed up to participate, and that number will continue to rise as events are added throughout October, which is International Walk to School Month. Last year the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which administers the Federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in the Commonwealth, saw 292 schools in Virginia participate in WTSD – an all-time high since the event was first held in 2007.
- VDOT Safe Routes to School Program: www.virginiadot.org/saferoutes
- Walk to School Day in the USA: www.walkbiketoschool.org
- National Center for Safe Routes to School: www.saferoutesinfo.org
Each year, VDOT’s SRTS program awards non-infrastructure grants to assist school systems that prioritize biking and walking to school. During the 2017-18 school year, more than 400 schools will benefit from this grant funding totaling $960,029.
“SRTS grants fund activities and programs that support making walking and biking to school a safe, convenient and natural activity,” said VDOT Safe Routes to School Coordinator Robert Williams. “Each school system receiving a grant has shown dedication to prioritizing walking and biking to school.”
Grants can range from $5,000 to $100,000. Non-Infrastructure grant awardees use a portion of their funds to hire a local coordinator to work with the schools on SRTS activities and develop their own program of activities for the school year. Typical activities include:
- Participation in International Walk and Bike to School Days
- Developing monthly/weekly walking programs or clubs
- Establishing and supporting walking school buses and/or bike trains
- Conducting parent surveys and student travel tallies
- Providing pedestrian and/or bike safety training and resources
- Hosting bike rodeos
- Participating in Crossing Guard Appreciation Day