L.A.’s first citywide ‘Walk to School Day’ set for Wednesday

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First grade teacher Lynda Jensen walks with her class of 30 children at Willow Glenn Elementary School in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

First grade teacher Lynda Jensen walks with her class of 30 children at Willow Glenn Elementary School in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – City and school district officials are encouraging participation in Wednesday’s inaugural citywide Walk to School Day.

“Walk to School Day may be a one-day event, but it inspires families to walk to school and leads to long-term changes that encourage more walking and bicycling in our communities,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is providing planning and logistical support to the Los Angeles Unified School District for Walk to School Day events as part of its efforts to encourage and teach students “to walk and bike with care,” said Margot Ocanas, the department’s pedestrian coordinator.

Other goals include raising awareness among students, their parents and the rest of the public about creating safe walking routes to school and promoting physical activity through walking, Ocanas said.

Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member Tamar Galatzan said she hopes Walk to School Day can prompt adults to “set an example for their children, leave the car behind and walk to school.”

The collaboration between the Department of Transportation and school district on Walk to School Day will be “the first of many activities to increase the number of students walking and bicycling to school,” Garcetti said. “This will improve our health while decreasing traffic on our streets.”

More information on the citywide Walk to School Day can be found online at walktoschoolday-la.org.

Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. Canada and the United Kingdom joined the effort in 2000 for International Walk to School Day, leading to October being declared as International Walk to School Month.

Thousands of schools across the U.S. and more than 40 other nations worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.

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