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Santa Monica Students Log in Car-Free Miles

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jorge Casuso

April 10, 2013 -- One first grader biked a total of 19 miles to and from school last month, while a second grader walked 32 miles.

Those were among the milestone performances logged in by students from four Santa Monica public schools during the City’s March Car Free Contest, a friendly competition to encourage walking and biking to school.

“The great thing about Car-Free is that everybody wins,” said Peter Dzewaltowski, the City’s Transportation Planner. “Those who walk and bike gain heath and independence, those who need to use an automobile enjoy reduced congestion because fewer vehicle trips are being made, and the whole community benefits from improved air quality and reduced traffic in the residential neighborhoods.

“Students tracked trips made to school without using an automobile, and these ‘Car-free’ miles counted towards monthly incentives,” Dzewaltowski explained. “One competition target is to be the first class to walk and bike enough miles to reach San Francisco.”

John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Will Rogers Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School took part in the competition. 

The most Car-Free miles in March were earned by John Adams students, who logged 352 total car-free miles. Roosevelt students recorded the second highest total miles with 267, with one student accounting for 32 of the miles.

The longest biking distance -- 19 miles -- was turned in by a Will Roger’s student, while an 8th-grade class at Lincoln was recognized for having the highest level of participation. 

“The goal of this contest is to create a fun environment that encourages families to incorporate bicycling and walking into their daily transportation choice” said David Martin, Director of Santa Monica’s Planning and Community Development Department.
The schools will continue to log their Car Free trips in April. More winners will be announced during May’s Bike It Walk It events during the week of May 6 to 10 at all Santa Monica-Malibu Unified schools. 

The Car-Free Contest is part of a larger Safe Routes to School pilot project managed by the City of Santa Monica in partnership with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and Parent Teacher Student Associations.  Funding for the project has been provided by Metro, Caltrans, and the City of Santa Monica. 

Other events have included Santa Monica’s first Family Bike Fest, walking school buses, bike skills classes and walk/bike audits.

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