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News Advisory: Commissioner Novick, Director Treat, Timber Joey join 150 students for Walk + Bike to School Day; event celebrated citywide

(Oct. 4, 2013) - International “Walk + Bike to School Day” will be celebrated with a news event at Maplewood Elementary School in Southwest Portland at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, October 9. More than 150 children are expected to meet up and walk or bike to school with City Commissioner Steve Novick, Transportation Director Leah Treat, Portland Timbers’ Timber Joey and community leaders.  At the school, teachers, parents and community leaders will talk about the health and safety benefits of being active.

Thousands of other children from about 60 Portland schools will also walk and bike to their schools, showing that it’s easy and fun to walk and bike to school.

The event also celebrates Portland’s Safe Routes to School program, which now involves K-8 students in almost all Portland schools. It is one of the nation’s most effective programs of its kind: 42 percent of the trips to Portland elementary schools are now made on foot or by bike,  a 35 percent increase since Safe Routes to School began in 2006. That is significantly higher than the national average of 12 percent. 

WHEN: Wednesday, October 9, at 7:40 a.m.

WHERE:  Maplewood Elementary School, 7452 SW 52nd Ave in Portland.

WHAT:  Five “Walking School Buses” will depart from different locations throughout the neighborhood and convene at the school.  Students will carry colorful Safe Routes to School banners.

Members of the media can report from the school as children arrive or may join Commissioner Novick, Director Treat, Timber Joey and Maplewood Principal Annie Tabshy in their walk to school at the intersection of SW 48th   Avenue and SW Maplewood Road at 7:40am.  

WHY: Experts say that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Sadly, our kids aren’t getting it. While the rate of children walking and biking to school in America has dropped during the past few decades, the rate of children who are obese has soared. The October 9th event will celebrate eight years of work to reverse this trend with its Safe Routes to School program, one of the most effective in the nation.                              

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Portland Safe Routes to School is a partnership of the City of Portland, schools, neighborhoods, community organizations and agencies that advocates for and implements programs that make walking and biking around our neighborhoods and schools fun, easy, safe and healthy for all students and families while reducing our reliance on cars. Follow on Twitter @PBOTSafeRoutes and Facebook.com/PBOTSafeRoutes

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