Bear Creek Safe Routes to School Program

With help from the Safe Routes to School administrator for the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, Bear Creek initiated the Walking School Bus and other active transportation programs for students while working alongside local officials to improve the infrastructure for cycling and walking around the school. At the end of the 2006 school year materials informing parents of the new transportation programs were sent home with students, giving families ample time to determine how their children would get to school in the fall and how that mode of transport would fit into their daily routine. To address parental concerns around traffic and other safety issues, parent volunteers coordinated the Walking School Bus program and the Boulder police set up bicycle safety courses for students. Additionally, the Ride and Stride program was created to make participation possible for families that lived far away from Bear Creek, encouraging parents to drive part of the way to school then having their children walk the rest of the way. Challenges throughout the year kept student interest and enthusiasm for the program high, while Bear Creek’s Principal acted as a primary role model, challenging himself to get to school without a car, trying a different form of transportation each month. Students tracked their participation by recording their daily mode of transport on a form that was turned into the school at the end of each month, and, over the course of two years, these records indicated that the proportion of students walking or bicycling to school consistently throughout the school year had increased from 25% to 70%.

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