The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Soulfish Parenting: Walking to School

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on June 29, 2011

Here is my letter to the Editor of The Californian newspaper that started a bit of a debate on Facebook recently:

Missing an opportunity to encourage walking

I am glad the city of Temecula is tackling traffic through an educational component at local schools (“School traffic fixes in the works,” June 21), but I see city planners missing a perfect opportunity to push for kids to walk to school.

Despite living in safe, bucolic Temecula, many parents do not let their kids walk to school. They cite traffic and crime (despite historic low —- and continuing to decline —- crime rates) as chief worries.

Ironically, these fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy as greenbelts and walking paths are deserted (so there are fewer friends to walk with or friendly neighborhood grown-ups looking out for others’ kids) while streets remain congested with frustrated drivers making yet another school run. Chances are, a child hit by a car on his way to school is hit by a parent driving another child to school.

We are blessed to live in safe suburbs with pedestrian-friendly access to most of our elementary schools. The majority of students attending the schools currently on the table live within walking distance. Our city should partner with the school district to encourage parents to give children the gift of arriving at school awake and alert, rather than spending every morning in an SUV or minivan idling in “the loop.” It is far safer and healthier for our entire community.

Juliet Grossman


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