Austin to take part in Walk to School day

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, October 7, 2014


International Walk to School Day is set for Wednesday and organizers from the Vision 2020 Bike/Walk Trail System Committee hope the day will set more walking into motion.

“We want to reach out to them and show them that there’s that option, and to be safe doing it as well,” Chairman Steve Kime said.

The event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school.

More than 40 schools statewide will participate in the event to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organizations to get out on sidewalks and trails.

Mower Refreshed Coordinator Sandy Anderson hopes to get students walking, to help them both physically and mentally.

“Walking to school is one great way to do that,” Anderson said. “Walking to school does a lot for not just a person physically, but mentally, any type of activity can make you more mentally alert and aware.”

She added, “There’s that physical side and that link to the mental alertness to be ready to learn.”

The trail committee has been working to get more students to bike or walk to school since their work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation started in the fall of 2013. The team had volunteers go to open houses at the schools, specifically Southgate Elementary and I.J. Holton Intermediate School, before the academic year began, to get information to parents about the option of walking or biking to school. Kime said parents have been receptive to the idea.

Not only do they hope to get students walking, they hope to make the roads safe for all activities: walking, biking, jogging and driving.

“I’m hoping that just by promoting that and encouraging people to participate, that we can just raise the awareness, and in some way change that behavior to really have people consider that as an option,” Kime said.