NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Salt Brook Elementary School students and parents made it cool to walk to school on Wednesday, Oct. 2 as hundreds hit the sidewalks in honor of Walk to School Day. Salt Brook’s PTA organized its first-ever Walk to School Day event in collaboration with TransOptions/NJ Safe Routes to School, a non-profit organization that promotes alternative modes of transportation.
Students walking to school utilized the town’s new sidewalks along Maple Street and Brookside Drive, installed during the summer through a New Jersey Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Grant. PTA volunteers hosted “walking school buses,” informal, parent-led walking groups, such as the “Tiger Friendship Bus,” which was started by a group of first graders who walked a mile to school, picking up additional students along the way.
The usual morning car line was nowhere to be seen, eliminating traffic congestion in front of the school. New Providence Police Officers and the Salt Brook Tiger were on hand to cheer on walkers and NJ Safe Routes to School greeted students with giveaways such as reflective zipper pulls, stickers and bookmarks.
Salt Brook’s Walk to School Day emphasized the importance of issues such as improved pedestrian safety, increased physical activity among children, reduced traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building stronger connections between families, the school and the broader community, while making it fun and exciting for the students. The school will continue to promote walking and biking to school on a regular basis.
“I walked to school every day when I was in elementary school and always looked forward to meeting my friends at the corner of my block,” said Salt Brook Principal Jeannie Maier. “I am thrilled that Salt Brook hosted Walk to School Day as a way to promote alternative modes of transportation, a healthy lifestyle and an overall sense of community. I hope the fun the children experienced during this event inspires them to continue walking or biking to school all year long.”