A message received from ARLINGTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

October 2013
Dear APS Families:
Please join us on Wed, Oct. 9 (rain date: Wed, Oct. 16) as we celebrate our 15th year participating in the International Walk and Bike to School Day. 

This wonderful event is a growing tradition here in Arlington, and the day is part of a month-long celebration that focuses on encouraging students to walk and bike to school, while teaching them about the health benefits of walking and biking. Over the last 15 years, APS and Arlington County have partnered to encourage families to celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day.
Every October, millions of children, parents, teachers and community leaders around the world walk or bike to school to celebrate and encourage a healthy lifestyle for students. To continue this tradition, I hope you and your children will join us by walking or bicycling to school. Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day to succeed in the classroom, but also builds healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity now affects nearly 18% of all children and adolescents in the United States, and since 1980, the number has almost tripled. Obesity puts a child at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, and other conditions, and children with disabilities are at a higher risk for sedentary behavior and can benefit from more opportunities to be active.  Some of the benefits of walking or biking to school include:
  • Helping students to be more alert in school;
  • Keeping children heart-healthy, strong and fit;
  • Helping to make the air cleaner by reducing the number of cars on the road;
  • Providing children with added time to talk with parents and friends on their way to and from school; and
  • Teaching students how to safely navigate the streets of your neighborhood. 
Resources Available for Families:
The APS Transportation Office worked closely with the Multimodal Transportation and Student Safety Special Committee to refine and improve our school walk maps. The new Multimodal Planning Maps are online at www.apsva.us/transportation, and can assist families in planning safe routes to school. 

They are available in two formats:
  • Online Interactive Maps show school APS walk, bus, and attendance zones; school crossing guards, traffic signals, and bike routes; and community resources including ART bus stops and routes, Metro stops and routes, Metrorail stations and lines, parks, land parcels, streets and building footprints.
  • Printable PDF maps are also available.
In addition, Arlington County has a number of resources available at www.walkarlington.com and www.bikearlington.com.
Walk and Bike to School Day provides you with an excellent reason to talk with your child about the benefits of walking or bicycling to school and to take this opportunity to encourage a healthy lifestyle. I also hope all of our families will take this opportunity to remind students to walk or ride to and from school with a buddy, and to tell an adult at home or at school if they observe any unusual activity while en route.
All of our schools are participating in Walk and Bike to School Day this fall, so I look forward to seeing everyone out on Oct. 9.

Patrick K. Murphy