Thursday, January 24, 2013
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – Joining thousands of students and schools across the country, St. John the Baptist Parish hosted its first Walk/Bike to School Day at LaPlace Elementary School on Friday, January 18. The event was an extension of the Safe Routes to School Program, which is funded through a Department of Transportation and Development grant in the amount of $283,790.00. In addition to an educational component, improvements are planned for existing pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks in the vicinity of the school to allow students to walk or bike safely to and from school on a daily basis. More than thirty LaPlace Elementary students and school staff practiced their walking and biking techniques prior to the event. These training techniques were taught over a two-week period in an effort to emphasize the importance of physical activity among youth and the need for safer pedestrian routes near the school campus. Helmets, bike chains, and locks were provided to students through the grant program to help guarantee a successful Walk/Bike to School Day.
“We are pleased to see this program finally come to fruition,” said Parish Presidents Natalie Robottom. “The Walk/Bike to School Program was motivating and educational and the construction component of the project will begin in the coming months. East St. John Elementary is also a recipient of a Safe Routes to School grant and we look forward to implementing the program at other schools throughout the parish,” added Robottom.
In addition to the educational component, the Safe Routes to School project also includes installation of ADA compliant handicapped ramps, crosswalk markings, striping and speed limit signs along Greenwood Dr., Evergreen Dr., Ridgefield Dr., and Carrollwood Dr. Walk/Bike to School Day raises awareness of issues such as youth fitness, pedestrian safety, reduction of traffic congestion and concern for the environment. It also establishes a connection between families, schools and the community. The construction project is still in the design phase and is expected to begin in the summer of 2013.
The parish will continue to apply for the Safe Routes to Schools Grant for other schools who meet program criteria.