Los Angeles policymakers seek to get more students to safely walk to school

Kids walking to school
Kids walking to school
Elizabeth/Table4Five/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

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Fewer kids are walking to school these days because of safety concerns. There's a movement afoot to change that trend.

Starting about 40 years ago, the number of students who walked or bicycled to school began to drop, says Jessica Meany of the Safe Routes to School Partnership.

"Frequently it’s the distance from school," says Meany, "but it’s also safety, both from either hostile traffic conditions or other community challenges related to crime and gang activity and things like that."

She says neighborhoods in Riverside, Santa Monica and San Diego are at the forefront of efforts to reverse that trend. The federal government’s helping with millions of dollars in grants to improve sidewalks and bike lanes near schools.

Transportation administrators, activists and school districts are getting ready for International Walk or Ride to School Month in October; they’ve dubbed it “Walktober.”