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Walk to School Day 2013, New Bedford, Brooks ElementaryThe day is approaching quickly! On Wednesday, May 6th, thousands of elementary and middle school students will participate in hundreds of events within Massachusetts communities as they walk and bike to school.

Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day is a statewide event through the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. Last year, the Commonwealth celebrated the biggest event to date with over 250 events held statewide and over 42,000 elementary and middle school students walking or biking to school! SRTS partner schools across the state are invited to take part in this great day of healthy and active transportation and can register their event at mass.gov/massdot/saferoutes.

Schools in urban, suburban, and rural communities are currently planning their events by gathering community support through local, businesses, school staff, public officials, law enforcement, parent teacher organizations, and community leaders. Event opportunities are easily customized based on the school community and make sure to involve all students, regardless of location to the school or disability. Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day increases the visibility of walking and bicycling in Massachusetts communities and emphasizes the benefits of healthy transportation options for youth and families.

The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS), through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) works with students, parents, school staff, and local police departments across the Commonwealth to promote safe walking and bicycling to school through the five E’s: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation.

According to the US Department of Transportation, less than 16 percent of children walk or bicycle to school; at the same time, school-related traffic can contribute more than 10 percent of morning rush hour traffic volumes in some communities, as well as significant air pollution. Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day began in 2007 as a statewide initiative to encourage healthy transportation choices around our school communities. Increasing the number of students who walk and bicycle to school helps improve students’ health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.

A very special thank you to our partner schools, community champions, and the many stakeholders who are working to make this a wonderful day for children across the Commonwealth! We hope to make this year our biggest event yet!

For more information on how your school can participate, visit mass.gov/massdot/saferoutes.

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