NORMAN — Last week, I wrote a column about how local schools were celebrating Walk and Bike to School Day. According to comments I’ve received, the Oct. 7 event was a great success.
Susan Atkinson, a parent volunteer, said 140 students from McKinley Elementary School walked or biked to school that day. "That’s nearly half the school. We ran out of swag bags,” she said. "From reports I’ve gathered ... there was amazing participation all over Norman.” The support didn’t stop with the students. Mayor Cindy Rosenthal, the Norman North High School band and Norman Regional Health System’s Healthy Community Coalition also took part in the event. Atkinson said in addition to getting kids and parents moving, organizers had several goals in mind when encouraging schools to participate in Walk and Bike to School Day. Those included reducing traffic congestion at drop-off and pick-up times, building momentum and community support for regular walking and biking to school events and identifying environmental barriers in neighborhoods that prevent students from walking to school safely. The event was part of the larger Safe Routes to School movement which provides state and federal money to improve infrastructure and community perceptions about walking and biking to school, Atkinson said.