Sunday, March 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Program works to get kids out of cars and walking to school

1 bikes 1

Steven Morris of the Bay Area Bike Mobile repairs a bicycle outside the Suisun Library, Aug. 21. The event was promoted by the Solano Transportation Authority's Safe Routes to School program. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | September 01, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — To get local schoolchildren to be healthier and more alert in the classroom, Sarah Fitzgerald of the Solano Transportation Authority’s Safe Routes to School program is asking them to get out of their parents’ cars and walk to school.

To do that, she and her staff are promoting efforts such as the Walking School Bus program, with adult volunteers escorting groups of children, the Bay Area Bike Mobile’s visits to local libraries to repair bikes and International Walk to School Day, where participating schools and students get prizes.

“We are working hard to reach out, primarily to elementary schools and middle schools,” Fitzgerald said. “The whole idea is to get kids moving.”

With the start of the school year, the Safe Routes to School organizers are putting together more walking groups, safety assemblies and bike rodeos, as well as channeling money to create more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly routes, such as the Grizzly Island Pedestrian route in Suisun City.

For example, coordinators for the Walking School Bus program are looking for parents and adult volunteers to expand the successful program that has organized and supervised groups of children walking to school along established routes. That program started in 2012 with four participating schools and four routes. As of April, it grew to 18 schools and 33 routes.

Fitzgerald points out it not only creates physical activity for children who haven’t walked to school before and cuts down traffic around schools, but also gives those who already walk to school a safer walking environment.

The Solano Transportation Authority adopted its Safe Routes to School plan in 2008 in response to growing concerns about student travel safety, growing traffic congestion and air pollution around schools, and the increasing amount of childhood obesity.

“The whole idea is to get kids moving,” Fitzgerald said, noting that children who walk or ride a bicycle to school are less tired and socialize more than those who simply ride to school in a car.

Its goals were to increase the number of children who bike or walk to school safely, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and improve children’s health by increasing physical activity. Within two years, it expanded to cover all of the county’s schools.

The program has since collected more than $2.6 million in grants from organizations such as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Much of that has been spent on programs such as Walking School Bus and items such as radar speed signs, bicycle and pedestrian improvements near schools and education events at local schools.

One of its most prominent pedestrian improvement projects has been the mile-long Grizzly Island Trail, which was formally opened in May with the help of $900,000 from the Safe Routes to School program and now allows Suisun City students to walk from Grizzly Island Road to Marina Boulevard without having to cross Highway 12 twice.

“It is going to be better and easier,” said Crystal Middle School student Sean Collins in May of his commute to and from school now.

Upcoming Safe Routes to School-related projects include improvements along Driftwood Drive in Suisun City, better intersection striping near two Vallejo elementary schools, and sidewalk improvements near Vacaville High School and C.A. Jacobs Middle School in Dixon.

The first of the school year’s walk to school days will be Oct. 8, when the Solano Transportation Authority takes part in the 2014 International Walk to School Day. Last year, 6,655 students and 25 schools, half of whom were in Vacaville, took part in the event. Fitzgerald said she hopes to see that expand this year.

Local schools have until Sept. 29 to register for the Walk to School Day, which will have incentive gifts such as backpacks and water bottles for participants.

Organizers for this and school level walk-to-school events will offer what Fitzgerald called “The Golden Sneaker Award” for the classes with the best participation.

The annual Bike to School Day will return in May 2015. Nine Solano County schools participated in 2014 and that number is expected to grow next spring.

For more information about Safe Routes to School, or to volunteer to take part in programs and events such as International Walk to School Day or help organize a Walking School Bus group, go to www.solanoSR2S.ca.gov or call 424-6075.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 9 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • SamanthaAugust 31, 2014 - 10:58 pm

    i would walk my son to school every morning and back home after school we live about 6 blocks from his school but the neighborhood this town has gotten so bad im scared to there could be a drive by or something its crazy here now. make our streets safer

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboAugust 31, 2014 - 11:27 pm

    I like the idea of parents getting involved and providing Safe routes to school.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksSeptember 01, 2014 - 5:55 am

    This is a great plan on many levels. When I walk with my grand kids I watch some of the dangerous habits of drivers. We should concentrate our efforts on parents racing thorough school zones and residential areas ignoring stop signs. Let's get folks back to obeying the law along with respect for the safety and comfort of others.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Chris RhodenSeptember 01, 2014 - 5:56 am

    Sure says a lot about how much negative change has taken place since I was a kid (the late 40s-early 50s). It was even safe to leave your house door unlocked.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • truth'nSeptember 01, 2014 - 6:02 am

    Every parent who is not employed needs to be out and about, walking their kids to school. Then they can walk into the school themselves and volunteer. It would be a wonderful lesson to teach their children.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Fred MenschSeptember 01, 2014 - 7:50 am

    Lemme get this straight: The libtards want us to let our kids walk to school - so the chesters can get em??!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Fred Mensch is anSeptember 01, 2014 - 8:01 am

    Id*ot. Grow up .

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lynn HenricksonSeptember 01, 2014 - 11:51 am

    Hey Fred Mensch, as a liberal I want to thank you, we will take credit for all the great programs that are out there, meanwhile back on the "ranch" you all can keep promoting wealth only for the rich, welfare for corporations, and hate for anything that makes sense.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • perreynoidSeptember 01, 2014 - 8:54 am

    @ Fred-First off you just showed us what kind of person you are by using the R word.Second, if you read the actual article, and not just the headline, you'd know they kids would have adult chaperons. When I initially read the headline, I went "whoa, now the kids can get snatched", but then I read the story. Now that I know what it really is, I think it's a good thing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Peace and patience: Quilters gear up for show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1Comments are off for this post

School bands compete in Pageantry on Parade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Calling someone a ‘smoker’ is hilarious

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Conservancy plans next Quail Ridge Reserve walk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Police seek suspect in armed robbery

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 3 Comments

4-H Presentation Day brings fun, education to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
The agony of the codling moth, ecstasy of worm-free apples

By Christine Macgenn | From Page: C4

 
What you eat can affect your medications

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

CAASC 18th Annual Chinese New Year and Scholarship Celebration

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Rollover in Suisun City

By Aaron Rosenblatt | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

State schedules ramp closure at freeway project site

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Appointments on tap for Board of Supervisors meet

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Tri-City NAACP honors community members at gala event

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
NY, SF town house prices through the roof

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Force draws many from South, middle class

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Christie to Calif. Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US missionary abducted in Nigeria is courageous, friends say

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dress that ‘greatly resembles’ stolen Nyong’o gown found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Churches, synagogues, mosques bear tough New England winter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Blind dog rescued after being lost for 2 weeks in the cold

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Details about proposed national monuments in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
National monument supporters in California get antsy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Greece will not seek another bailout, prime minister says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Attacks kill 37 people in and north of Iraq’s capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

US drone strike in Yemen kills 3 suspected al-Qaida fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nemtsov a possible ‘sacrificial victim,’ investigators say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
New school funding plan remains on bumpy path

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Even Gruber deserves a break sometimes

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
I might just vote for a Democrat next time around

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Aging Fairfield housing agency faltering

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

With numbers falling, Houston-area nuns’ future uncertain

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: March 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Kidney Walk participation helped give me a positive outlook on life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Take a look – Dr. Seuss has a new book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Publisher launches line of Warhol e-books

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Q&A: Opera star Deborah Voigt writes of turbulent life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ has realistic plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Vikings girls looking for first section title

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Vaca’s Aquino wins Masters wrestling title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Phegley hopes his style will catch on in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A year after meeting Tiger, Indian golfer on the rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Jeff Gordon takes a final spin at track that meant so much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Players’ union head: future spring games in Cuba possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harrington takes 36-hole lead, then more rain in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Defending champ Federer beats Djokovic to retain Dubai title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Safarova beats Azarenka to win the Qatar Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Environmental activists disrupt meeting by Olympic officials

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamilton hones Mercedes with fastest time at F1 testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has surgery on cheekbone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anthony Mason, rugged forward of 1990s Knicks, dies at 48

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors center Festus Ezeli suspended for a game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reichelt leads Austrian World Cup downhill sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harvick wins Xfinity race at Atlanta for 3rd year in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stolen No. 44 NASCAR race car found in suburban Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

Fruits and vegetables get a star-studded marketing push

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
For many in US, cash saved at gas pump is staying in pockets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Nevada casinos keep $953.7 million in winnings in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Historic snows causing headaches for real estate industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Boy, 13, builds Braille printer with Legos, starts company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9Comments are off for this post

 
Recalls this week: hand trucks, ceiling fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Review: Freedom! These smartwatches leave the phone behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Greek prime minister rules out third bailout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Virgil Albert Hanson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Leah E. Hoffman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John W. Van Wart

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics