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Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federal program to improve the well-being of children by improving walking and bicycling conditions on the route to school and enabling and encouraging children to walk and bike these routes.
With over 140,000 diverse people living in a compact city (about 15 square miles), Alexandria provides an ideal environment for walking and bicycling since so many families live close to their neighborhood elementary schools. Alexandria has had a formal Safe Routes to School program since 2003 when we participated in our first annual International Walk to School Day and the City has been ensuring pedestrian safety near schools for many years.
Alexandria’s local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) efforts – made possible by grants from VDOT, the Kaiser Foundation and city Capital Improvement Project funds – include:
PROGRAMS IN ALEXANDRIA SCHOOLS
Charles Barrett Elementary: Parents participate in weekly Walking Wednesday programs where families walk together – often via “Walking School Buses” led by one or more parents who “pick up” other neighborhood kids on the way to school, similar to a regular school bus. The school provides incentives for students who walk often and holds bicycle safety rodeos for 4th and 5th graders.
George Mason Elementary: The school holds bicycle safety rodeos with WABA and encourages students to walk or bicycle several times a week by providing prizes and punch cards for “frequent walkers.” The school is strongly pursuing efforts that encourage sustainable living and recently participated in Environmental Education Week.
James K. Polk Elementary: This school’s Fitness Friday effort has been a huge hit with parents and students and now Polk is one of nine schools in the entire U.S. to pilot a new children’s pedestrian safety education curriculum through the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
Francis Hammond Middle: The school has been teaching all sixth and seventh grade physical education students a three-week course on bicycle safety. The school has 33 bicycles and helmets and federal Safe Routes to School funding has allowed Hammond to purchase a video camera and helmet camera to assist in bicycle safety education.
Mount Vernon Elementary School: With strong support from the administration and PTA, this school received a Kaiser Foundation grant to work with Trails for Youth to educate and encourage students about walking and bicycling to school. More than 32% of students at Mount Vernon walk to school and almost 3% bike to school regularly.
SCHOOL WALKING MAPS
The maps show locations of existing sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic signals and crossing guards and include the school’s attendance boundary – as well as radii showing where families live with 5- and 10-minute walks of each school. The printed maps also include safety and encouragement tips for families interested in Safe Routes to School.
See your school’s walking map:
Don’t see your school? Email Hillary.Poole@AlexandriaVA.gov to learn how you can get involved in Safe Routes to School programs.
INFRASTRUCTURE & ON-THE-GROUND PROJECTS IN ALEXANDRIA