GOVERNOR PATRICK PARTICIPATES IN MASSACHUSETTS WALK AND BICYCLE TO SCHOOL DAY
Governor Patrick walks a group of Glover Elementary students to school as part of Massachusetts Walk & Bike to School Day. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)
BOSTON - Wednesday, May 4, 2011- 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. Through the Safe Routes to Schools program, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and MassRIDES provide 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.
"Our commitment to the Safe Routes to School program is part of a larger effort to build safer and more livable communities for the residents of Massachusetts," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan. "Walking or biking to school is a great way to stay healthy and achieves the goals of our GreenDOT initiative and Healthy Transportation Compact."
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. Safe Routes to School enables direct collaboration between the Commonwealth and schools and communities to promote walking and bicycling transportation as fun, safe and sustainable travel options.
"Walk and Bicycle to School Day is a great way to help ensure students arrive at school ready to learn and prepared to meet the high expectations we have set for all children," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I commend the leadership of Governor Patrick and Secretary Mullan for promoting this important work."
Today, less than 16 percent of children walk or bicycle to classes, and in some communities, school-related traffic can contribute up to 25 percent of morning rush hour traffic volumes, as well as significant air pollution. 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.
Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the MassRIDES travel options program on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. To find out how your school can participate, contact Samantha Fonseca-Moreira at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.commute.com.
Editor's Note: Contact Samantha Fonseca-Moreira at 857-368-8639, email@example.com, to identify an event in your coverage area.