|Leave Your Cars At Home Wednesday
By Jason Islas
October 4, 2011 -- Santa Monica's Bike It!/Walk It! Day is expected to attract record participants in a district wide effort to get kids to walk, bike or take the bus to school Wednesday.
“We have more schools than ever participating,” said Allison Kendall who took over the position of Chair of Bike It! Day from Richard McKinnon after his son graduated last June.
Kendall, who is also a Safe Routes to School National Trainer, said all the schools in Santa Monica, with the exception of Olympic High School, and three schools in Malibu will participate.
The event, which started about four years ago, was originally limited to a small group of students at SAMOHI who were concerned about the environmental impact of all the car traffic. The SAMOHI Solar Alliance decided to organize a day to get students – and their parents – to leave their cars at home and walk, ride or take the bus to school.
“At the time, we had only about 20 bikes in the bike racks. Now we have well over a hundred – on a regular day,” Kendall said.
“The racks are full,” she added.
The last Bike It! Day, which happened in early June, saw over 3,000 participants – 700 of whom were riding bikes.
This Bike It! Day is particularly important, Kendall said, because at SAMOHI, Lincoln Middle School and John Adams Middle School, a lot of construction is about to start.
She sees encouraging more kids to get to school without their parents driving them will help reduce car traffic around the schools – keeping kids safer amidst the coming construction chaos.
Bike It! Day's gathering momentum in Santa Monica has garnered national attention as well.
For their efforts in organizing and expanding the event, the Co-Presidents of SAMOHI's Solar Alliance Charlotte Biren and Jenna Perelman were recognized in June with a Presidential Environmental Youth Award, signed by President Obama.
Kids are running out of places to park their bikes, said Kendall.
If the success Bike It! Day continues as it has over these past four years, it looks like the schools in Santa Monica are going to need a lot more bike racks.
For more information about participating in Bike It!/Walk It! Day, visit http:// www.bike-it-day.org/.
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