June 1 is “Walk to School Day” at Keister Elementary

Thanh -- May 28th, 2007

Last October, Kiester Elementary students and parents participated in “International Walk to School Day.” This single day brought out 250 student walkers and bikers; 200 more (!) than what they normally have on a typical school day. This event also brought out several “Harrisonburg celebrities” who supported the cause.

This Friday, June 1st, Keister Elementary with the help of Safe Kids of the Central Shenandoah Valley and parents are sponsoring another Walk to School Day. This will be the first of many “Walking First Fridays.” Continuing next fall, students and parents at Keister Elementary will be encouraged to walk and bike to school together on every Frist Friday of the month. If you are a child, parent, friend, or friends of children and parents who attend Keister Elementary please invite and encourage them to walk or bike to school. Students who must ride a bus to school will be dropped off at the bottom of the hill at Keister and together with volunteers will take a brisk and fun morning walk around the track. This is the begining of creating a culture of walking and biking to school in our area.

And a heads up for this year’s International Walk to School Day, October 3, 2007. Event organizers are currently talking to Waterman and Spotswood Elementaries to sponsor the event at their schools. Anyone wishing to learn more about pedestrian and bicycle safety, Walk to School Days in Harrisonburg or wishing to help, should contact Cindy Reeves, Coordinator of Community Health Education and Awareness, RMH Community Health and Safe Kids Co-leader at creeves (at) rhcc (dot) com.

12 Responses to “June 1 is “Walk to School Day” at Keister Elementary”

  1. It’s so funny how things change over the years. I went to Keister Elem. when I was a child…we lived on Maryland Ave past the big church on the corner of 42. I had to walk to and from school everyday. My mom was a French teacher at Luray H.S and my dad was always so busy that even though it was cold or rain..I walked.

  2. writergirl says:

    I walked to school when I went to Waterman. It was nice that my mom didn’t have to worry about me actually making it there. I was even on Safety Patrol, which now seems like an insane idea :) I loved it though! I hope all the schools get on board with this.

  3. David Troyer says:

    I walked to and from school everyday at Keister, as well. I recall walking in the snow and the only times we were driven was when we were running late.

  4. TM says:

    I’m assuming the walk was uphill both ways.

  5. David Troyer says:

    hehe… actually I do believe there were some uphill sections both ways…

  6. will says:

    it would be nice if there were actually sidewalks in the neighborhoods adjacent to keister…imagine that, sidewalks in a neighborhood? got to love harrisonburg…

  7. Frank witt says:

    Is that the fault of the city Planner…sidewalks?

    I live on Emery Street and can drive from here to the restauant on University and find only a patch of sidewalks on Port, then none…even in the residential areas around Central.

    I’m surprised more people don’t get hit when walking their pets.

  8. Thanh says:

    I’m not sure if there is anyone really to blame for the lack of sidewalks. Even though it really is unfortunate. I think there was just a period of time where sidewalks weren’t considered at all really. It wasn’t on anyone’s mind, City Planners included. People weren’t looking ahead. I think also that people got used to driving cars everywhere and everyone in general figured that people in the future would continue to prefer cars over walking on their own two feet. I figure that its related to the whole lack of front porches on homes. I love front porches, it allows people to hang out in the front of the house where nieghbors walk by, people greet each other etc.

    I just found this which explains sidewalk non-development in Salisbury NC. http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us/lm&d/2020/ch11/11-13sidewalksbikewayspublictrans.htm

    I think Harrisonburg went through something similar.

    Whatever the case, everyone should know that today, all new developments in Harrisonburg are required to provide sidewalks on at least one side of a residential street. And I know of efforts taken on by City staff and members of the community to get funding to go back to existing neighborhoods to put in sidewalks, however, that takes time. There are also efforts to get paths and trails put in between adjoining neighborhoods and/or parks to help pedestrians and bicyclists get around.

    In the meantime, for people driving on residential streets like Central, Dogwood, Chestnut, Maryland Aves where I know people often walk with their family and pets to get around, please obey the speed limit and keep and eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists.

    If anyone has questions about sidewalks or has an idea they would like to propose regarding sidwalks, they can call one of two people, either the Senior Planner in Community Development at 432-7700 or the Transportation Planner in Public Works at 434-5928 (the two work closely together on many projects).

  9. Frank witt says:

    I have a meeting today with a man from the community developers office to discuss some drainage proplems from the past and maybe I can sneek in a question about sidewalks near our house.

    I’ll let you know…

  10. Sam Nickels says:

    Although I support the walking to school, and I walk my daughter to Keister most school days (and the dog), it’s an uphill battle because it’s easier to drive and because parents give in to kids demanding to be driven, and because the school system provides busing. Is there any way to put restrictions on that, for example, that anyone within 1/2 mile of an elementary school would not receive a bus ride, unless they could show special need or extenuating family circumstances. Would be cheaper, healthier, but of course less safe, and safety and laywers tend to trump all other issues in our society. When I lived in El Salvador and had no car, I was 20 pounds lighter than here in the states.

    Sam Nickels

  11. Thanh says:

    I’m not sure what the history behind Harrisonburg schools busing children who live so close to it is. But now I want to ask around to find out…

    Rumor has it that there are some children who live within several blocks or so from a Harrisonburg school who get picked up by a bus.

    Where I went to school (in Fairfax County), anyone who lived within 1 mile of school was not provided bus service (except of course if there was some extenuating circumstance, handicap, etc). Many of my friends walked to school, and occassionally if I was going to their house for the afternoon with a parental permission note in hand I would walk home with them… it was exciting.

    Anyway, my point is to support what Sam Nickels recommends. It could be a significant cost savings to the school system, as well as improvement to student health, and building up of a community who interacts with one another and knows everyone by name. If we build a culture of walking and bicyling where it was viewed as acceptable and “normal” parents wouldn’t be so unncessarily worried… and if people knew their neighbors better, they’d feel better about allowing their children to walk to school with the nieghbors and it would be less inconvenient – parents could take turns.

  12. mother says:

    There was no bus service throughout the 70’s .. you walked or got a ride one way or another. Walking is fine, but I am not going to send my 5 – 11 year old kids alone to walk to school. It may be less than a mile but that is not the real issue. This world is not the same as it was in the 60’s & 70’s when I would leave my house in the morning to play all over town and my parents did not worry about me – I knew what time I had to be home for dinner .. walking to school was the norm .. as was walking to friends houses .. walking downtown to window shop. If you haven’t noticed there are mean people out there – including neighbors – who will prey on kids. Even if you have told your kids not to look for a puppy with a stranger, your child will look for a puppy or trust the nice person they see when walking to school everyday. Walking would be great IF I didn’t have 3 kids at 3 schools and didn’t have a job to get to. I trust my children – I sadly don’t trust the world to be kind to them.

Reader Tweets

Latest Flickr photos in the hburgnews Flickr pool
Announcements & Press Releases
  • Friendly City Grand Opening Set for July 9

    Friendly City Food Co-Op, Harrisonburg’s consumer-owned grocery, invites the community to come see its new destination for natural, organic and locally-produced products at the store’s grand opening 11 a.m.-5 p.m. July 9 at 150 East Wolfe Street.

  • Friendly City Becomes Member of National Cooperative Grocers Association

    HARRISONBURG, VA — Friendly City Food Co-op, slated to open this month in Harrisonburg, Va., has become the newest member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative serving 120 consumer-owned food co-ops nationwide.

  • Harrisonburg Recognized as a Bike Friendly Community

    May 2: Harrisonburg was honored when the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designations over the weekend to kick off May as National Bike Month.