This spring, 730 students from 16 elementary schools in the San Ramon Valley participated in the Street Smarts Walk/Bike Challenge, a contest that encourages students to get to and from school under their own power. The school with the highest rate of participation was Greenbrook Elementary, followed by Green Valley and John Baldwin.
From April 29 to May 10, students were challenged to "walk and roll" to class as many times as possible. Participating students went to www.walkbikechallenge.com and logged the number of trips that they walked, biked, skateboarded or rode a scooter to and from school or to and from the TRAFFIX bus stop. In addition to promoting safe routes to school, the program aims to decrease pollution.
"A 2009 survey showed that in some San Ramon Valley schools, as few as 9.4 percent of elementary school students living within a quarter mile of school actually walked or biked to school," Street Smarts Program coordinator Cathy DeLuca said. "Street Smarts would like to increase this percentage, because walking and biking to school not only helps our children stay active, but it can reduce congestion on our roads."
During the two-week challenge, students made 9,417 walking, biking, skateboarding and scootering trips. They also walked over 3,000 miles and biked, skateboarded or scootered over 3,000 miles. The car-free trips saved approximately 5,900 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, DeLuca said.
Participating students who logged at least half of all possible trips received a pair of Street Smarts sunglasses. Participating students were entered into a raffle to win gift certificates to local bike shops. The raffle winners were:
1. Julia Urban, Sycamore Valley Elementary: $150 gift certificate to California Pedaler
2. Tristan Brown, Green Valley Elementary: $100 gift certificate to California Pedaler
3. Delasa Sheykhi, Montevideo Elementary: $50 gift certificate to Dublin Cyclery
The walk/bike challenge is one of the several programs offered by Street Smarts, a traffic safety education program and a collaborative effort by the city of San Ramon,town of Danville, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District,and the County of Contra Costa. Each year, the program holds contests, presentations, and hands-on activities at elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in the San Ramon Valley.