Local non-profit, Walk ‘n Rollers, has been selected by the City of Culver City to implement the Culver City Non-Infrastructure Safe Routes to School Program in conjunction with the Culver City Unified School District. The four-year, federally-funded project’s goal is to educate children and parents on best practices for walking and biking to and from school and to develop programs to create an environment that will encourage them to do so more frequently.
With obesity rates rising and school traffic accounting for up to 25% of morning congestion, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grants are excellent tools for engaging the community and seeking solutions. More children walking and biking to school reduces traffic and pollution around school sites, creates safer communities and helps more kids be more active in the process. Plus, not only do children learn life-long lessons, such as good decision making, responsibility and community awareness, but schools often report that attendance and academic performance rises, while bullying and health risks decline.
Involving six schools – five elementary and one middle school – Culver City’s SRTS program will include numerous activities, both at schools and throughout the community and touch nearly every child within the City. From bike skills and safety workshops to family rides, intra-school activities and parent trainings, the program aims to wholly engage the community with the goal of being self-sustaining by program’s end.
Explains Culver City Vice-Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells “Safe Routes to School has been great for Linwood E. Howe Elementary, including my own two sons. Every Friday, kids, parents, teachers and our principal form a ‘Walking Schools Bus.’ Together, we travel to school on foot instead of by car, picking up friends along the way. It’s good exercise, fun social time, and helps reduce traffic and car pollution.”
Jim Shanman, founder of Walk ’n Rollers, Culver City resident and parent of a fifth grader in CCUSD, will serve as the program’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator. Working with various CCUSD schools over the past several years as a local SRTS champion and involvement in multiple SRTS programs with Metro and other organizations throughout the Los Angeles area, Shanman brings local knowledge, enthusiasm and a fresh approach to Culver City’s program.
“I’m looking forward to working with my friends and neighbors to get our kids more active, create a more livable community and break the grip of the auto-centric culture we have created” explains Shanman. “Culver City is a very walkable and bikeable oasis surrounded by Los Angeles. Combined with enthusiastic civic support, we have the tools to be successful and establish a travel mode-shift while creating a new norm for our children.”
Adds Linwood E. Howe’s SRTS committee chairperson, Yvonne McLauchlan “Jim has been an invaluable resource to the Linwood E. Howe SRTS committee for the last year on an informal basis. We look forward to working with him on a more official basis now he has been appointed SRTS coordinator”.