Walk to School Day in Columbia--over 800 participants

Ian Thomas of PedNET reports:
by DKnisely, http://flickr.com/photos/dnk/246909837/

More than 800 schoolchildren (along with many parents, teachers and other adults) took part in events organized by PedNet and partners at nine Columbia schools (7 public, 2 private). A pedestrian safety event was coordinated by the SAFE KIDS Coalition at Good Shepherd Lutheran, and staging posts were established by PedNet at the ARC for Columbia Catholic (60 walkers), Russell (100+ walkers) and West Blvd. Elementary (about 100 walkers); Columbia Public Library for Ridgeway Elementary (79); D & H Drug for Grant Elementary (150); Fairview United Methodist Church for Fairview Elementary (160); Lange Middle School for Derby Ridge (103); and Flat Branch Park for Lee Elementary (numbers not available, yet).

Food (paid for with PedNet mini-grants) and a prize drawing (thanks to the ARC and Empire Roller Rink) were provided for walkers at all the schools and the Columbia Police Department provided traffic control for those walking groups crossing major streets. Walking guests included Congressman Kenny Hulshof (whose daughter attends Columbia Catholic), Mayor Darwin Hindman (grandson at Fairview), radio host Fred Parry (son at Grant), Susan Fales (former principal at Ridgeway), and the MU Women's basketball team.

Assemblies were held at several of the schools during the previous week during which music (thanks to the Jingle Sisters) and skits (West Junior High School drama class) promoted walking to school.
The Columbia Missourian covered the event on the front page:
Brent Hugh, executive director of the Missouri Bike Federation and a member of the Missouri Safe Routes to School advisory committee, said people walking builds community support for safer streets and sidewalks.

“The more people who walk, the less traffic there is, which makes it more appealing for even more people to walk,” Hugh said.

Walkers at each school had the chance to win prizes in a drawing held at each school. Portia McLaurin, a Grant second-grader, won two tickets for a free roller-skating session at Empire Roller Rink.

“I’m very happy,” Portia said. “I already know how to rollerblade, but now I can learn the four-wheel kind.”