Our brand new Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program kicked off an exciting event season with the first annual WALKtober Walk to School Challenge. Twenty-two schools from eight local school districts participated in the week-long event and 7,200 kids walked or biked to school. SRTS Tucson partnered up with Pima County SRTS and Pima County Health Department in offering a variety of raffle prizes (such as athletic balls, jump ropes, and even bikes!) and daily incentives (stickers, notebooks, etc.) to get more students to participate. It was a fun and engaging way to encourage kids to celebrate and embrace active modes of transportation.
Living Streets Alliance/Safe Routes to School Tucson staff worked closely with our four pilot schools of 2014-15: Blenman Elementary, Peter Howell Elementary, Kellond Elementary, and Laguna Elementary. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild kicked off the Walktober Challenge at Blenman Elementary on October 6th by accompanying students and parents on their early morning walk to the school. LSA staff and volunteers welcomed kids and parents at each pilot school on International Walk to School Day, which was the highlight of the WALKtober week. Students who walked on this day received additional goodies such as bike maps, colorful pins, temporary tattoos and fresh fruit and cereal bars generously donated by Whole Foods Market on Speedway. Parents who walked with their kids had the opportunity to meet the LSA/SRTS staff while enjoying delicious empanadas (donated by La Estrella Bakery) and getting their morning caffeine fix (donated by Starbucks at Speedway & Country Club.) The excitement was over the roof when kids were lined up with their punch cards to be awarded for walking and biking.
LSA also hosted a Kidical Mass ride starting at Peter Howell Elementary on October 17th. Over a hundred kids, adults, and organizers got the wheels turning, rode to Himmel Park, and then back to the school for their favorite flavor of Isabella’s Ice Cream.
The first ever WALKtober Walk to School Challenge was a great success in celebrating walking and biking to school and getting 7,000 little feet on the street!