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Safe Routes to School
January 10, 2013
Safe Routes to School is about much more than simply providing sidewalks. The factors which influence whether or not a student walks or rides a bike to school are complex. The top two barriers to walking and bicycling to school, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention1, are long distances (62%) and traffic danger (30%). Both of these factors are directly related to where the school is located. In recognition of the importance of school siting, Congress directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop voluntary School Siting Guidelines which encourage a holistic approach to school siting issues, particularly as related to children’s health. This workshop proposes to look not only at Safe Routes to School, but to take a step back and look at the school itself. As long as the predominant development pattern for new schools continues to be mega‐campuses on greenfield sites miles away from the populations they serve, Safe Routes to School will continue to be elusive to much of Georgia’s student population.
1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Barriers to Children Walking to or from School United States 2004, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. September 30, 2005. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5438a2.htm.