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Old 08-09-2012, 08:09 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,777 posts, read 10,684,964 times
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National Center for Safe Routes to School
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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In Vienna, tons of children walk to school. I see them walking to/from Marshall Road and to/from Vienna Elementary all the time. They are usually in pretty big groups walking home from school and then split off into smaller groupings as they get closer to their homes. Overall, I'd say the sidewalks are pretty good in the Town of Vienna for walking. Also, there are crossing guards at the major crosswalks. On the other hand, we got a bus since we are just over 1 mile to the school. I think 1 mile is a fair limit for younger children. Over a mile is pushing into a 30-minute walk, which is a bit much for younger elementary school students.

Like a PP, I see a problem when the school assigned to you is farther for you than another school is, yet you are required to walk. We are about 1/2 mile from one school, yet are bussed to another elementary school just over 1 mile away. If they said we'd have to walk to that school, I'd be pretty mad. If my kids have to walk, they should be able to walk to the closest school.

One thing I like about FCPS is that the school will call you within 90 minutes if your child does not arrive at school and you haven't called in the absense. At least there's some confidence there that your child did, in fact, get to school safely.

Here in Chapel Hill, the walking distance is 1 1/2 miles, even for elementary school students. I think that is too far, especially since it's quite hilly here. And the schools are not consistent about calling you if you don't call in an absence. When my daughter walks or rides her bike, she takes her phone and calls me when she gets there, before going into the school. This way, I know she got there safely.

Last edited by michgc; 08-09-2012 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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When I was in elementary school (K-3), I walked back and forth to school twice a day as we were dismissed in the middle of the day to go home for lunch. Of course it was an easy walk as it was just 2 blocks from my house. In 4th grade, I went to what would be termed a magnet school nowadays and took the bus. The school was 3.5 miles from my house but the bus route was pretty long and I was on the bus for close to an hour each way. I walked to junior high school (7 - 8) and high school, both about a 1/2 mile walk.

Our local elementary school is about 1 1/2 miles from our house but a walking route involves crossing a very busy street. My kids do not attend the local elementary school but if they did, they would be able to take the bus. I think a 1 1/2 mile walk is a lot for little kids.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:49 AM
 
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Walking to school back and forth in a semi-urban area for a mile or 1.5 miles is a grind over the course of the year, particularly when it is cold and raining.

All you do is making more parents drive to school creating traffic problems and safety issues around the school for walkers.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I read in one of the related articles that Arlington will bus kids within the walk radius if they have to cross major streets or intersections. Also, for younger students the radius is one mile.
Thanks for posting this. I agree with both of these provisions, especially for little kids. If this wasn't done, can you imagine the traffic at Kiss 'n Ride?!
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:55 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
In Vienna, tons of children walk to school. I see them walking to/from Marshall Road and to/from Vienna Elementary all the time. They are usually in pretty big groups walking home from school and then split off into smaller groupings as they get closer to their homes. Overall, I'd say the sidewalks are pretty good in the Town of Vienna for walking. Also, there are crossing guards at the major crosswalks.
youve also got a grid, which could enable more direct walking routes, flows traffic over more paths, and allows pedestrians direct routes on quieter streets. Do you think that helps?
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,556 posts, read 12,636,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
youve also got a grid, which could enable more direct walking routes, flows traffic over more paths, and allows pedestrians direct routes on quieter streets. Do you think that helps?
I hadn't thought about it, but I do think the grid layout helps, although Town of Vienna is not a perfect grid.

For Marshall Road, most of the kids I see walking are walking down Ware Street, which is a large residential street, with lots of side streets coming off it. So most of the kids walk off their side street onto Ware and then onto Marshall Rd. The other major street is Marshall Road with lots of side streets coming off that.

For Vienna Elementary, most of the kids I see walking are walking down Locust and Center Street and then to side streets off those streets.

Most of the walkers are on sidewalks rather than bike/walking paths. And they are mostly relatively quiet streets. The students who live at the developments over by the Metro actually are bussed to Marshall Road even though they are well within a mile (even with a 1/2 mile). FCPS does not think it is safe for students to cross Nutley (and I agree). Although some students still walk, and there is a crosswalk with a walk signal.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,855,154 times
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The cul de sac neighborhoods often have trails that run behind homes and connect various neighborhoods, so walkers don't have to follow the circuitous path of the streets. The trails create a much shorter and safer (and often shadier) route, and lead right to the schools (and playgrounds). They also intersect with the sidewalks, so you can also use both if that makes your route even easier. Here are some examples of walking trails:











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Old 08-09-2012, 11:08 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Wow. So Loudoun actually maintains the vegetation near its trails? Arlington has let everything be covered by English Ivy, giant weeds, and kudzu.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,556 posts, read 12,636,569 times
Reputation: 8315
While I like walking trails, and they are often scenic, I am a little nervous about their being hidden. In Chapel Hill, there are tons of walking paths to school, but I find them to be a bit isolated. For me, it's a safety factor. Of course children should always walk in pairs or groups, but I still think of some stalker hiding back in the trees and preying on two schoolgirls. At least on an open street, there are cars going by and it's more in the open. If something happens, another person is more likely to see.
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