NEWTON, NJ—The “Walking School Bus” is up and running again, with another walk to school day on International Walk to School Day in the USA, on Thursday, May 12.
“The Walk to School Day program has been in place at Meriam Avenue School for over five years now,” said teacher Linda Salerno.
The walk begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Municipal Building on Trinity Street, but community members can join the walk at any of the following stops.
- Second Stop: Union Place
- Third Stop: Halsted Street
- Fourth Stop: Lawnwood Annex
- Fifth Stop: Mason Avenue
- Last Stop: Merriam Avenue School
The program, which started out as an idea presented to Merriam by Trans Options, a nonprofit environmental association, as the Safe Route to School Program, has grown into a community wide initiative event.
“The program would not be a success without the invaluable assistance and participation of Newton’s Police Chief, [Michael Richards] and officers, who provide safe escort through the town, as the travelers make their way to the school,” reported Salerno.
In 2010, the program drew a large number or participants including; students, parents, teachers, and administrators, an enthusiastic and healthy crowd.
During the spring months of year two, the program was opened up to include bikes. “The program continues to grow and is now part of the fabric of our home and school community,” said Salerno.
In addition to the four to five walk/bike to school days a year, Merriam also has held traffic safety programs coordinated with Trans Option and an outdoor Bike Rodeo, in order to ensure the students have the necessary skills to maintain safe transit around Newton.
In the spring of 2015, Merriam was honored with a Bronze Level Award at the Trans Options Recognition event, in recognition of their dedicated efforts.