July 15, 2014 at 5:11 PM
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Salt Brook Elementary School may have a more popular way than a car to get to school in September if Donna Zane has anything to do with it.
Beginning in the Fall 2013, Zane made a push to local elementary school parents to forgo the “new-age” transportation of a car and flashback to the decades-old tradition where students walked to school on a daily basis.
Zane organized the first annual Walk to School Day at Salt Brook last September, which saw hundreds of students out on the sidewalks in a safe environment.
Parent volunteers manned the streets, as the students walked alone or with their friends to the Maple Street/Walnut Street school in “walking buses.”
For her efforts, Zane was recently recognized by TransOptions, a non-profit organization dedicated to safe transportation, as a Safe Routes to School Champion for her efforts.
“We are pleased that our partnership with the Salt Brook School in New Providence has created such a successful walking and biking to school culture,” TransOptions President John F. Ciaffone said. “Now there are hundreds of students walking to and from school safely.”
Following the success of the first walk, Salt Brook School created a weekly event “Trek it Thursday” where students are encouraged to walk or bike each week.
Additionally, Zane has taken her efforts to other schools in the town, including Roberts School and New Providence Middle School. Her vision was so widely accepted, that New Providence implemented a district-wide “Walk/Bike to School Day” in April.
“Not only are they getting great exercise and having fun but they are protecting the environment from harmful vehicle exhaust emissions not traveling by car,” Ciaffone said. “We look forward to expanding the program to other schools in New Providence in the Fall.”