New Grants Encourage Students to Walk & Bike to School
The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) awarded mini-grants totaling $30,150 in late 2008 to enable seven local schools to launch and expand programs that encourage students to walk and ride to school.
They are part of the WPHF Think~Act~Be Healthy Communities initiative designed to inspire community projects that will change the environment and/or culture in ways that encourage healthy behaviors.
As a result, more children than ever are walking or biking safely to school this year. Here is an update on school activities:
- Aloma Elementary School continues its monthly Walk ‘N Roll Wednesday events which encourage students to walk, roll, skate or scoot to school rather than riding in a car, and provides incentives to students who participate.
- Brookshire Elementary School held its first Walk ‘N Roll event Wednesday, September 9, 2009 and 176 students—36 percent of the school’s population—participated. The school’s bike racks were full.
- Dommerich Elementary and Maitland Middle Schools kicked off their second year of Walk n’ Roll Wednesdays by greeting 274 walkin’ & rollin’ students on Wednesday, September 9. The construction of an aesthetically appealing bike shelter to show the value the school, students and community place on biking will be completed in spring of 2010 when school renovations are completed. In the meantime, the Walk n’ Roll team is working with volunteers and the City of Maitland to redesign the street and school entryways so they are safer for walkers and bikers.
- Hungerford Elementary School has applied for the permits necessary to upgrade the school cross walk and pavement markings, as well as provide a flashing beacon to slow down traffic. School officials hope to complete installation by December 2009. Ian Lockwood, a member of the WPHF Community Health Policy Work Group, has volunteered to assist the school in the design and placement of its traffic calming devices.
- Glenridge Middle School kicked off the year with a “Bicycle Safety Rodeo” for all students who ride bikes to school. The Rodeo included a guest speaker from the Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida who explained bicycle safety and examined all students’ helmets to make sure they were in good condition. They provided 75 helmets and gave incentives to students who are walking / riding bikes / skateboarding, etc. to encourage more participation. The school also purchased parking lot control devices and signage to help control traffic, making it safer for pedestrians and bike riders on the way to and from school.
- Winter Park High School, in hopes of encouraging students to bike to school, will install security cameras, a DVR and bicycle racks for the bike corral so riders know their bicycles will be secure while they are in class.