Delray students who walk to school Oct. 5 may also improve pedestrian safety for others

0/8/2003 - DELRAY BEACH - Leslie Horenburger (in t-shirt in center of picture) of Delray Beach was among the volunteers who came out early Wednesday morning to walk with children to school at Pine Grove Elementary School. She's a former member of the Delray Beach Pedistrian and Bicycle task Force. They are crossing S.W. 10th Street with the help of a crossing guard. Staff photo by Bob Shanley.

10/8/2003 – DELRAY BEACH – Leslie Horenburger (in t-shirt in center of picture) of Delray Beach was among the volunteers who came out early Wednesday morning to walk with children to school at Pine Grove Elementary School. She’s a former member of the Delray Beach Pedistrian and Bicycle task Force. They are crossing S.W. 10th Street with the help of a crossing guard. Staff photo by Bob Shanley.

DELRAY BEACH — Pine Grove Elementary students are encouraged to walk to school Wednesday, Oct. 5, not just to be healthy and active, but also to help improve their community.

The city is asking students at to ditch cars and buses Oct. 5, and opt instead to walk or bike to school along with several volunteers. It’s part of an initiative coordinated by Human Powered Delray, a pedestrian advocacy group.

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Those same volunteers will hold clipboards and cellphones to note any safety issues along the way, like cracks in the sidewalk, line-of-sight problems or any other safety concerns.

“The idea is to stress to the community the importance of safety to the children,” said Patrick Halliday, co-founder of Human Powered Delray. Any safety concerns noticed by parents and volunteers will be brought to the attention of city engineers.

“By compiling all the data, we’ll be able to use the information to bring to the city and make the walk safer for students,” Halliday said.

Between 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. that morning, volunteers will accompany young students on their walk to Pine Grove, at 400 SW 10th Street. The initiative was last done in 2003.

Oct. 5 was selected as part of an international campaign held that day, called Walk/Bike to School, which for 20 years has advocated for healthier lifestyle choices for students.

More than 50 parents from Pine Grove Elementary have signed up to participate, either by allowing their child to walk to school, or walking along with them.

This is also part of the city’s larger campaign to keep residents healthy. In August, the National League of Cities recognized Delray Beach with a “gold medal” for outstanding achievements in health and wellness through First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.

The city implemented health and wellness education in its elementary and middle schools, according to city officials. It also expanded access to meal programs before and after school, as well as during summer months, and encouraged physical activity among its young residents.

For more information about Walk/Bike to School in Delray Beach, visit the Walk/Bike to School website here.