How a Portland teacher is reshaping school commutes in cities across the country
Yikes. "Nearly 90% of kids walked to school in 1969. Half a century later, in 2017, that number had fallen to just 10%. " Joni Mitchell wrote about paving paradise in 1970 and we still keep getting worse. Many reasons from more traffic, to helicopter parenting, to school consolidation to "school choice" and charter schools to general sub- and ex-urbanization to the rise in expectations for after school activities not on school grounds.
In any case, a worthy endeavor. I was always a street-riding bike-to-schooler, much to the chagrin of some crossing guards who thought I belonged on crosswalks. Learned to stay just off the right rear bumper of that car in front. An early DUI kept me biking through most of high school when others were driving. Turned into a lifelong thing; the biking, not the DUIs.
This is great! I love the concept and reasoning. Back in the day (yes, I grew up in the days of the dinosaurs :-), I lived a mile from my elementary school, and walked both directions every day of the school year. Looking back, that was fabulous for my physical and mental health, led me to love the outdoors, made me thoughtful and contemplative, and taught me the joy of singing (I had no companions for my walk).
By the time my kids went to elementary school, we lived in a different city about a 5 minute walk from school - if there hadn't been a bend in the street, you could have seen it from our house. There were no school buses. So many parents drove their kids to school (including families who lived as close as our house) that I had to walk back and forth with our kids to school for 10 years (it was a K-6 school and we had two children of different ages) because of community opinion which felt that the last crossing of the street was too dangerous for children who walked unescorted, because of the chaotic amount of vehicle traffic going to & from the school. Yet what initially seemed to be a burden, I came to view as a blessing, because it got ME and our dog and our toddler outside and active twice every school day.
Now we live in a new location, and there are school buses. I've seen the local school bus stop and take on and drop off a child (who appears to be physically fit with no mobility issues) from the house NEXT DOOR to the elementary school - a house which literally shares a front yard with the school! How the world has changed. Time to go back to some walking and cycling to school.