From Feb 22 to March 4 Proctor Elementary School participated in the Golden Sneaker Contest for the first time. The Golden Sneaker Contest is part of the Safe Routes to School program. The winning class received the Golden Sneaker Trophy.
It was a great success! The participation was amazing. The kids had a lot of fun. There was a noticeable reduction in traffic around the school during drop-off time. And most amazingly: there were three times as many kids walking or biking to school than usual.
One big concern remains: Safety! During these two weeks, most kids were walking with their parents. Neither Proctor Rd nor Seaview Ave have concrete sidewalks, and both these streets are used by many kids for walking to school. The unimproved sidewalks along Proctor Rd are still partially blocked by illegal overgrowth and by cars parking illegally on the sidewalk. In too many places, kids are forced to walk in the street. The tragic accident near Marshall Elementary School in the week after the Golden Sneaker Contest, where two kids have been seriously injured by a driver (see also How can you help the Templeton family), has been a stark reminder of how vulnerable pedestrians are when walking in a car dominated environment. Therefore many parents do not feel safe allowing their kids to walk to school alone.
Despite these challenges, we can see that more kids (with their parents’ support) would choose to walk or ride to school. We look forward to more improvements in engineering, enforcement, education and engagement over the coming months and years to make this happen.