Schools, teachers and parents across the Puget Sound region have started organizing bike trains in recent years, one key part of the bike-and-walk-to-school revolution.
Essentially, bike trains are like walking school buses, but on wheels. Volunteers (often parents) lead a slow-moving group of kids along a pre-planned route through a neighborhood that ends at school. Kids wait at their homes until the bike train goes by, then join the mass of kids as it goes by. It’s a simple, safe and active way to get to school.
The Seattle School District has set the goal to have at least one walking school bus or bike train route at every school in the city.
You can be part of this exciting movement by starting a bike train to your local school. Cascade Bicycle Club is hosting a workshop Saturday in Ballard that will feature some of the bike train experts in Seattle. Details:
Let Cascade Bicycle Club be your conductor as we link up with local experts Maya Jacobs, founder of the Thorton Creek and Wedgewood bike train; FamilyBike maven, Morgan Scherer; and Glen Bluhmann from Kirkland Greenways.
Participants will learn the basics of recruiting others, planning the route, rules and group riding skills with children. The session finishes with a ride around the neighborhood where parents role-play as children, conductors and the caboose. Bring your bike and a helmet, dress for the weather and get on board.
What’s a bike train look like? Here’s video of one to Bryant Elementary on Bike-to-School Day 2013 (usually they are on residential streets, but this one was so large that police shut down a major street):
In other school news, Feet First and some parent groups are hoping that Seattle School District will add walkability to its school boundary criteria. From the Walk Bike Schools blog:
The changes are being driven by a number of real issues—overcrowding, bus routes & schedules, expected demographics, remodeling and construction plans, and so on. And some of these changes are positive, designed to provide relief to schools nearly bursting at the seams. However others are less positive and potentially could take kids away from a walkable neighborhood attendance area, requiring a bus or car trip to school instead.For details on how these changes can impact walkable communities, make sure you check out Feet First‘s blog post calling the district add another criteria to their school zone plans: Walkability.