Governor Deval Patrick today joined parents, teachers and school officials across the Commonwealth for Massachusetts Walk and Bicycle to School Day. The Governor walked a group of students to Glover Elementary School in Milton this morning, and encouraged walking or biking to school as a healthy, environmentally friendly option for those families who can do it.
Walk and Bicycle to School Day is part of the Commonwealth's Safe Routes to School Program, working with students, parents, school staff and local police departments in 121 communities and more than 380 schools to promote walking and bicycling to school in order to improve students' health, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.
"Students who have the option to walk or bike to school should absolutely do it," said Governor Patrick. "It's a great way for them to get physical activity, fresh air and time with their friends or family so they can arrive to school ready to work."
Today, thousands of elementary and middle school-aged children celebrated the program at hundreds of walking and bicycling events throughout the Commonwealth. Safe Routes to Schools through MassDOT and MassRIDES provides students, parents and school staff with education and training on transportation, safety and health benefits from walking and bicycling to school. Participating schools also qualify for financial support for improvements to sidewalks and other infrastructure surrounding schools.
The Safe Routes to School program is a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic transportation reform measure that promotes collaboration between the departments of transportation and public health to adopt best practices, increase efficiency and achieve positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation and public health policy.
Massachusetts established the Commonwealth's Walk to School Day in 2007. Since then, partner schools have conducted over 500 walking and bicycling events to celebrate Walk and Bicycle to School Day.