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Safe Routes to School

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Walk to School Day 2015 - Wednesday, October 7, 2015! 

Walk to School Day 2013 at Kensington Parkwood Elementary School

Looking for a healthy way to start the day? Jump-start it by walking with your child to school! 

Join hundreds of students, parents and communities around Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school.  It’s International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015!

Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to build awareness for communities to be more walkable.  

Walking to school is a great way to promote health, identify safer routes for walking, and to improve air quality.  Walking your child to school is a great opportunity to help your child learn and practice safe walking skills and it’s a way to improve your child’s health- as well as your own. 

And if you live too far from your child’s school to walk, here’s what you can do: Drive part of the distance, then park and walk the rest! Walk for fitness and walk for fun!  Celebrate Walk to School Day!

For more information, please contact Nadji Kirby, 240-777-7169 or  You can also visit for additional information, ideas for this year, and to see who walked last year.    


School Pedestrian Safety Training! 

To promote pedestrian safety, Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator an “It’s Academic” style game for 120 middle school students attending the Montgomery County Public Schools Junior Councils’ General Assembly in February. The game was developed to appeal to the middle school age group, help them better understand how to stay safe and understand the potential consequences of poor pedestrian choices.

The game topics covered pedestrian safety facts and the do’s and don’ts of pedestrian safety. Students were divided into groups and had 30 seconds to come up with the correct answer. The game generated a lot of discussion among the students once the correct answer and the reasoning behind it were revealed. The groups with the most correct answers won blinking safety lights as a prize. Each student also received a reflective zipper pull and the game questions and answers.  It is hoped that the students will continue discussing pedestrian safety at home and at their respective schools.

Another training activity underway is Train the Trainer sessions, where high school students learn how to teach elementary school students to walk safely.  These programs are especially important due to the recent return to daylight savings time.  Now, more students are walking in darkness during the early morning hours, so stay alert!

For more information about the game or for those who want to sponsor the game at their school, contact Nadji Kirby at


What is Safe Routes to School? 

Safe Routes to School is an international movement that has taken hold in communities throughout the United States.  The concept is to increase the number of children who walk or bicycle to school by funding projects that remove the barriers that currently prevent them from doing so.  Those barriers include lack of infrastructure, unsafe infrastructure, lack of programs aimed at children, parents and community members that promote walking and bicycling through education/encouragement.  Check out the Safe Routes to School Brochure

Why is Safe Routes to School important?

Thirty years ago, 60% of children living within a 2-mile radius of a school walked or bicycled to school.  Today, that number has dropped to less than 15%.  Roughly 25% commute by school bus, and well over half are driven to or from school in vehicles.  And back then, 5% of children between the ages of 6 and 11 were considered to be overweight or obese.  Today, that number has climbed to 20%.  These statistics point to a rise in preventable childhood diseases, worsening air quality and congestion around schools, and missed opportunities for children to grow into self reliant, independent adults.

Safe Routes to School Programs are intended to reverse these trends by funding projects that improve safety and efforts that promote walking and bicycling within a collaborative community framework.  It is through local champions working with a coalition of parents, schools, professionals in transportation, engineering, health, and law enforcement, that the most sustainable projects are expected to emerge.

Why Safe Routes Matters (video) - The National Center for Safe Routes to School has developed a promotional video to highlight the reasons "Why Safe Routes to School Matter."  The video highlights why the United States has seen a decrease in walking and bicycling to school, the consequences of this decrease and the ways Safe Routes to School are part of the solution. 

Safe Routes to School in Montgomery County

Montgomery County is committed to providing safe pathways to County schools for all our children.   Following the State of Maryland’s improved standards for road signage in 2000, Montgomery County initiated a full assessment of all schools in the County, identifying where safety improvements were most needed to afford students a safe route to their schools.  The first comprehensive assessment with corrective actions was completed in 2005 at Viers Mill Elementary School.  To date, of the 203 public schools in Montgomery County, 169 schools have had comprehensive school zone traffic safety assessments completed and at most of those schools the improvements have been completed.  By the end of FY14 all Montgomery County schools will have had at least one comprehensive assessment done.  

To improve access to schools, MCDOT staff combines input from school administrators, principals, teachers, and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) representatives with field observations to identify conflicts between pedestrian and vehicular movements that pose potential risks.  Existing pedestrian connectivity - sidewalks and crosswalks - are also evaluated and improved where needed.  Changes to traffic patterns and traffic signage and signals are implemented to improve safety.  To date, the results are promising.  Most schools where assessments and corrective actions have been implemented have had a reduction in the number of pedestrian collisions occurring in proximity to the school.

The program is being augmented with grant funds from the Maryland State Highway Administration.  Funding has been used to assist identified schools with implementing SRTS education and enforcement activities.  If you have questions about a specific school, please contact Nadji Kirby, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, or 240-777-7169.    




For any MCDOT service request or complaint, call 311
When dialing outside of the county, call 240-777-0311 or submit via their website.

For website comments or to report website problems or broken links, please email us. This email address does not handle service requests or complaints.

 Edison Park Office · Montgomery County Department of Transportation
100 Edison Park, 4th Floor · Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878 ·
· telephone: 240-777-7170 · fax: 240-777-7178 ·