Greg Bilyeu 804-786-4243
Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Oct. 7, 2015
VIRGINIA CELEBRATES NATIONAL WALK TO SCHOOL DAY; GRANT AWARDS ANNOUNCED
More than 250 Events Expected at Elementary and Middle Schools in Virginia
RICHMOND, VA — Communities across Virginia and the country will join together Oct. 7 to celebrate the ninth annual International Walk to School Day (WTSD).
Last year, a record 220 Virginia schools took part in the event, the most recorded in Virginia since its first WTSD event in 2007. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which administers the Federal Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in the Commonwealth, expects to see more than 250 events this year with participation growing throughout October, which is International Walk to School Month. Events can be registered online at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
The Virginia SRTS Program recognizes the many benefits of active transportation and the role that WTSD plays in encouraging kids to make that choice.
“It’s amazing to see Walk to School Day participation in Virginia steadily increase from year to year.” said Rob Williams, VDOT’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. “It’s a clear indication that more and more schools and parents are recognizing that the trip to school is a fantastic opportunity to get some exercise and get students ready for the day,” he said.
This year, VDOT marks the event by announcing a total of $940,000 in SRTS non-infrastructure grant awards funded by the Federal Highway Administration through the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act. This funding will be used to organize activities and purchase equipment to educate students about walking and biking safety, and to encourage active transportation to school. They will be implemented throughout the current school year and into the summer.
The following school divisions will receive grants:
- Arlington Public Schools
- Chesapeake Public Schools
- Chesterfield County Public Schools
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- City of Galax on behalf of Galax City Public Schools
- Greater Richmond Fit4Kids on behalf of Richmond Public Schools
- Henrico County Public Schools
- Loudoun County Public Schools
- Lynchburg City Schools
- Norfolk Public Schools
- Prince William County Public Schools
- Rockingham County Public Schools
- Sentara RMH Medical Center on behalf of Harrisonburg Public Schools
- Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools
For additional information, visit these websites:
VDOT Safe Routes to School Program
Walk to School Day in the USA
National Center for Safe Routes to School
About Safe Routes to School
- The Virginia Department of Transportation manages the statewide Safe Routes to School Program, providing funding, technical assistance and other resources to local communities to encourage safe walking and biking to school.
- Since 2007, VDOT has awarded over $23 million in funding to more than 550 schools in Virginia for Safe Routes to School activities.
- Walk to School Day was established in the U.S. 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.
- The National Center for Safe Routes to School 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 Bike to School Day in the United States include the League of American Bicyclists, 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 Bicycling and Walking, 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.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.