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Getting Started


No-cost or low-cost Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects

  1. Hold a free Safe Routes to School workshop in your community.
  2. Begin teaching Iowa Kids on the Move at your school.
  3. View Iowa's Bicycle and Pedestrian Encouragement Guide.
  4. Register for Live Healthy Iowa Kids—a free 100-day challenge designed to encourage young Iowans to increase their physical activity levels and make better food choices.
  5. Participate in Go the Distance Day and conduct a walkability assessment.
  6. Conduct a survey/needs assessment of students and parents about walking to school—analyze information on students’ and parents’ views about walking and biking to school, include questions about obstacles to walking or biking to school.
  7. Run a Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 campaign—educate and encourage citizens to drive at the residential speed limit to make a safer walking environment for students going to school.
  8. Create frequent walker cards or frequent rider miles—create a reward program similar to food and retail store discount cards. The cards are punched every time a student travels by foot or accumulates a certain number of miles by bike.
  9. Paint new high-visibility crosswalks—work with your municipal engineer and public works department to improve safety and emphasize the recommended path for crossing at an intersection.
  10. Develop a Neighborhood Watch/Safety and Safe Haven Program—have residents volunteer their homes as safehouses where children can go if they feel they are threatened or endangered on their way to and from school.
  11. Create a safety alert notice—initiate a program where if a parent is double parked or parked at a crosswalk, they will be handed a safety alert ticket by the principal or safety patrol.
  12. Designate weekly Walk ‘n Wheel Wednesdays—create a weekly event that encourages kids to walk and bike to school through rewards and outreach.
  13. Give rewards to students who always wear a bicycle helmet—provide incentive for students to wear helmets by giving good rider prizes and coupons.
  14. Pledge to be a pace car and Always Drive 25—drivers of pace cars pledge to drive within the speed limit and stop for pedestrians. Pace cars become traffic calming devices. Create pace car pledges for parents to sign.
  15. Hold a bicycle rodeo—host a community event where cycling instructors teach safety and riding skills through obstacle course simulations.
  16. Hold a walk-a-thon to raise money and awareness—encourage people to walk, expand awareness for SRTS and raise money for SRTS future programs and physical pedestrian/bicycle improvements.
  17. Present a Golden Sneaker Award to the class that walks the most—award a spray-painted sneaker to the class who walks the most cumulative miles/trips.
  18. Hold a bicycle and pedestrian safety quiz show—have students play a game modeled after Jeopardy to learn bicycle and pedestrian safety. Construction paper, point values, questions, and a bulletin board are helpful to display the game.
  19. Create no idling zones around the school—children’s asthma symptoms increase as a result of car exhaust. Idling produces twice as much pollution as stopping and restarting a warmed-up engine. A single vehicle dropping off and picking up kids at one school puts about three pounds of pollution into the air per month.
  20. Designate a location for park and walk to school—drop off students at a designated location and walk the rest of the way to school under the supervision of an adult volunteer. This is a good way to involve students who live far from the school and must ride the bus.
  21. Conduct walkability/bikeability assessments around your school—evaluate and identify school routes needing improvements by gathering volunteers to walk designated routes with a walkability/bikeability checklist.
  22. Paint in-roadway bicycle markings—work with your municipal engineer to create bike lanes that connect schools, parks, residential and commercial areas.
  23. Walk a morning mile at school—in areas where it is unsafe or difficult to walk to school, school staff can start a walking program on-campus before, during or after school. An example is the morning mile, where students walk a mile around the school grounds before class begins. This is a good way to involve students who live far from the school and must ride the bus.
  24. Conduct a class walking field trip—take students on a field trip by walking to a local library, post office or city hall. Include math skills by having students count their steps or calculate how far they walked.
  25. Walk Across the United States or world—have students travel around the country according to how many miles a class collectively walks and bikes to school through a Web-based interactive game. Or, follow the journals of Gary Hause, a man walking around the world at this Web site: www.walkingman.org.
  26. Celebrate Crazy Hat Day or signage parade—decorate helmets, hats and signs to create a parade on the walk to school.
  27. Hold a Crossing Guard Appreciation Day—designate a day in appreciation of the work that crossing guards do to keep students safe when crossing busy streets. Encourage students to make thank you notes for their crossing guard.
  28. Review sidewalk, building and property maintenance laws—designate a small committee to review municipal laws and codes to ensure sidewalks and trails are built within new developments. Make sure sidewalks are maintained, especially during snowy months.
  29. Create a walking school bus—design a walking route to school, supervised by an adult, with stops and a schedule like a school bus.
  30. Have students keep walking journals—create a classroom story about walking to school. Students jot down what they see on their walk to school and can even create a photo log of what they like and do not like along their route to school.
  31. Hold a walk to school scavenger hunt—create a walking game where students spot objects on their walk to school, based on a classroom assignment. For example, have students make note of the different types of traffic signs on the walk to school.
  32. Celebrate Stay Bright When Walking at Night—encourage students to walk in bright, reflective colors and teach them the importance of pedestrian safety.
  33. Walk to school poster contest—hold an art contest. Design a banner or poster to be hung in town or school to promote walking and safety.