Friday, October 29, 2010
Earlier this month, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett joined parents, teachers, and children around the world in celebrating International Walk to School Day. This year’s focus school was East Silver Spring Elementary School (ESS) where Leggett walked with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and other dignitaries. The annual event promotes safer streets, healthier lifestyles, and cleaner air. Thirty schools across the County participated with various Walk to School Day commemorations.
ESS is one of the most diverse schools in the County and was the first to hold a Walk to School Day celebration in 1999. A legally blind parent at the school, William Smith, was the impetus behind this event, as well as Maryland’s designation of walking as the State exercise. Smith is a tireless advocate for pedestrian safety and was a guest of honor at the Walk to School Day event.
Supporters of the event included Takoma Park Safe Routes to School; Safe Kids Montgomery County; AAA Mid-Atlantic's Foundation for Safety & Education; Federal Express; Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, Police Department 3rd District, Department of Transportation, and Public Schools Division of Food and Nutrition Services; and East Silver Spring Elementary School.
Montgomery County is upgrading safety at schools thanks, in part, to the federal Safe Routes to School program created in 2005. The program provides resources to communities to retrofit roads and create sidewalks and bike paths that allow children to safely walk or bike to school. Funding also supports enforcement and education campaigns.