LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - Mayor Eric Garcetti will walk to school with students who attend Dolores Huerta Elementary School on Wednesday, October 7 as part of the celebration of International Walk to School Day.
"Walking, cycling or skating to school can all be an important part of growing up -- helping our kids stay healthy, develop more confidence, and build closer relationships with their parents, friends and neighbors," said Mayor Garcetti. "Regardless of where they attend school, every child in Los Angeles deserves access to safe routes to school. That is the goal of my Vision Zero initiative and it's why we celebrate Walk to School Day in L.A."
The City of Los Angeles Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, launched in 2011, embraces the goal of Vision Zero to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2025 with an emphasis on our vulnerable student-age population. Children under 18 are disproportionally impacted by traffic violence, accounting for almost 20% of all people fatally or severely injured while walking and bicycling in the City of Los Angeles.
Walk to School Day, a Safe Routes to School encouragement program, brings together school administration, educators, students and parents to celebrate the fun and healthy benefits of walking and bicycling to school and to promote traffic safety. The event also spotlights the continuing need for the City, in partnership with the District, to invest in safety improvements that create calmed traffic environments around neighborhood schools. Using Vision Zero's data-driven approach, schools are prioritized with the highest need by considering collision rates, the number of children living within walking and bicycling distance of school, and equity indicators. In 2014, the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation was awarded over $20 million through the State Active Transportation Program to fund infrastructure improvements and safety education programs for schools in the Top 50.
Since the launch of citywide Walk to School Day in 2011, school participation has increased 40% annually. For this year's 3rd Annual Walk to School Day, more than 100 schools are participating with pre-K to 12 grade students walking.
About International Walk To School Day:
Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day.
In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school. It serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the United States.
Walk to School Day began as a simple idea - children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.
Organizations supporting International Walk to School Day in the United States include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.