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Streetfilms Shortie: Walk to School Celebration in NYC

Yesterday was International Walk to School Day, and on Tuesday, a group of NYC students and supporters got a head start on the celebration.  Nearly 4,000 schools across the United States participated in Walk to School Day according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, who helps organize the event.  This year, the NYC Department of Transportation is kicking of it's We're Walking Here campaign to promote walking as a healthy, safe and affordable way to get to school and around the neighborhood.  Tune in below to see how walking to school is also lots of fun.  Zozo would be proud!


Kim Wiley-Schwartz:  [00:03] Today we are celebrating International Walk to School Day which is actually tomorrow, October 5th, where children all over the world will be walking here in New York City.  We have a very large percentage of children who walk to school so today we’re just celebrating and showing off a little bit about how much walking we do here in town.


Speaker:  [00:22] Dropping off my daughter, Madison, to school, we did our safety walk to school day with Grover.  Crossing guards, they’re fantastic here.  You do have to watch out for the drivers though. 


Natasha Spann:  [00:32] There’s a lot of traffic and we know that there’s a lot of accidents that include children and just to have them walk to school and have less cars on the street, it makes it a bit more safe for us, not just the children of our school community, but for everyone. 


Lauren Marchetti:  [00:44] In many communities families try to walk to school face many challenges.  Traffic can be the number one issue.  As more and more parents drive their kids to school, it becomes harder and harder for parents to walk their kids to school.


Moira Donahue:  [00:57] All over the world, and particularly here in the United States, children are injured every year while they’re walking.  In fact 2009, 13,000 children are more injured in the United States.  We think it’s really important at Safe Kids not just to talk to children about safety, but actually make permanent changes to the environment to help control the way that drivers are behaving in the areas where kids are walking.  So it maybe putting in a pedestrian refuge island, it maybe blocking left hand turns or right hand turns in areas where there are a lot of children, also encouraging crosswalks, count down timers, signals to drivers to know that there’s going to be kids in the area walking.


Kim Wiley-Schwartz:  [01:33] At 135th Street and Madison we’ve made pedestrians the priority.  So there we put in pedestrian islands with bollards so people can rest while they’re crossing the street, because many cars are coming off of the bridges.


Speaker:  [01:47] I think it helped out a lot, just because I do drive also and I know that intersection’s tough to get through and then when with crossing, you know as a pedestrian it makes it even harder.  So what they’ve done is great and hopefully they continue to do it at more intersections. 


Lauren Marchetti: [01:59] The city of New York through the Department of Transportation has done many initiatives to make sure it’s safe for kids to walk.  And we want to make sure that this is available to kids all across the country and all across the globe.  That’s why we’re so happy to also be announcing today that we’re going to be partnering with the UN Decade of Action to work with them in countries all across the world. 


T Bella Dinh-Zarr:  [02:19] The UN Decade of Action for road safety is the very first time that the UN is internationally recognising road crashes as an international priority.  Road safety is really a neglected public health issue and a transportation issue.  So what we’re trying to do is over the next ten years if we put all of our efforts together, it’s estimated that we can save five million lives and prevent countless serious injuries. 


Kim Wiley-Schwartz:  [02:45] So this year we’re kicking off our We’re Walking Here NYC project.  It’s to raise awareness and get children in schools all throughout New York City to understand the importance of walking and how it affects our safety, our health and our environment. 


Lauren Marchetti: [03:00] Everybody benefits when people get out of their car and find opportunities to walk places, especially to school.  The environment benefits, we have an opportunity to be physically active, children arrive at school more ready to learn and settle down for the day.  I think people should give it a try.   


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