International Walk to School Day is Oct. 8, and Olympia schools look forward to participating again.
Traffic counters have been installed at Pioneer Elementary and Washington Middle School to determine the impact of Walk to School Day. The counters will monitor vehicle traffic this week, then compare that data to vehicle traffic on Oct. 8, said Jessica Gould, who works for Intercity Transit’s youth education program and is also a parent volunteer.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to see a huge reduction in traffic,” Gould told The Olympian. “Let’s see if it’s really working.”
Students at these schools will participate in Intercity Transit’s Walk and Roll program, where groups will meet up about a half-mile away and walk to school Oct. 8. Schools in Tumwater and Lacey are also participating, Gould said.
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“We are trying to encourage families to walk and bike with kids,” she said, “instead of just driving to front door.”
The Olympia City Council has proclaimed October as “Walk to School Month.”
The proclamation was announced at the council’s Sept. 23 meeting. The purpose is to “show children that walking is a fun, safe and healthy way to get to destinations in their neighborhoods, whether they are schools, parks or other place.”
The proclamation stems from a partnership between the city, Olympia School District, Intercity Transit and the Thurston Regional Planning Council.
Last year’s Walk to School Day led to a reduction in car traffic and a 25 percent increase in walkers, said Bobby Coleman, resource conservation manager for the school district.
“Walking to school contributes to better health for the students and the environment,” Coleman told the council.