Raleigh - Secretary of Transportation Nick Tennyson joined students and their families at Conn Magnet Elementary School of Entrepreneurial Design for North Carolina's 20th annual Walk to School Day. Expanding bicycle and pedestrian networks is one of the priorities outlined in Governor McCrory's 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina.
"Governor McCrory and I understand the importance of doing everything possible to ensure that our kids make it safely to school every day," said Secretary Tennyson. "Walk to School Day reinforces the importance of creating a safe transportation environment for walking and bicycling, and it provides an opportunity for families to connect with their neighborhood and community."
This event was one of more than 200 celebrations taking place at schools and communities across the state, setting a new record for participation. Last year, more than 5,000 schools in the U.S. participated in Walk to School Day.
While North Carolina is the ninth most populous state, it currently ranks third in the nation for the number of registered Walk to School Day events.
"We are inspired by the success of Walk to School Day," said Ed Johnson, acting director of the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation. "The magnitude of support for this event shows how much communities across North Carolina value providing students with safe and active options for the trip to school."
The state supports more than 5,000 miles of planned bike and pedestrian routes. Improving safety on those routes is a top concern, as 13 percent of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians and bicyclists.
The growing popularity of Walk to School Day in the state is due in large part to Active Routes to School, a partnership project between the N.C. Department of Transportation and the N.C. Division of Public Health. Ten regional Active Routes to School coordinators are working to make it easier for elementary and middle school students around the state to safely walk and bike, both to and at school.
Walk to School Day events will be held nationwide throughout the month of October.
To view names and locations of registered North Carolina schools participating in this year's event, visit walkbiketoschool.org/register.
Photos from today's event are available on the department's Flickr page.