Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are part of a national movement to create safe, healthy convenient, and fun opportunities for children to walk and bike to and from school.
La Mesa collaborates with local schools, residents, community organizations, and agencies that advocate for and implement programs that promote walking and bicycling. Our partners include enthusiastic parents and helpful older adults volunteers who want to make getting to and from school safer for children and better for the environment.
When children get physical activity before class, they are more focused on their tasks. Allowing kids to walk or bike to school also gives them a chance to practice independence. Walking or biking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day for children.
The percentage of students who walk or bike to school has declined since the late 1960s. Estimates vary, but studies generally find that fewer than 20% of students walk or bike to school. Children who walk or bike to school are less likely to be overweight than those who rely on non-active transportation forms.
La Mesa's Safe Routes framework includes:
Education - Providing students and the community with the skills to walk and bicycle safely, educating them about the benefits of walking and bicycling, and teaching them about the broad range of transportation choices.
Encouragement - Generating enthusiasm and increased walking and bicycling for students through events, activities, and programs.
Enforcement - Increase awareness and reduce the frequency of traffic safety problems through extra patrols and education.
Engagement - All Safe Routes to School initiatives should begin by listening to students, families, teachers, and school leaders and working with existing community organizations, and build intentional, ongoing engagement opportunities into the program structure.
Engineering - Creating physical improvements to streets and neighborhoods that make walking and bicycling safer, more comfortable, and more convenient.
Equity - Ensuring that Safe Routes to School initiatives are benefiting all demographic groups, with particular attention to ensuring safe, healthy, and fair outcomes for low-income students, students of color, students of all genders, students with disabilities, and others.
Evaluation - Assessing which approaches are more or less successful, ensuring that programs and initiatives are supporting equitable outcomes, and identifying unintended consequences or opportunities to improve the effectiveness of each approach.
Students can build stronger friendships and relationships through walking and biking together. Increasing interactions with families and neighbors by walking and rolling and biking together. Increasing interactions with families and neighbors by walking and rolling through neighborhoods can develop and reinforce positive social connections.