New York City Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia, students and Principal of PS 11 in Woodside, and community members today joined schools from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day in the World’s Borough.
Walk to School events create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety and build connections between families, schools and the broader community.
“We are excited to host the City’s annual International Walk to School Day celebration in the World’s Borough,'” said Nicole Garcia, Queens Borough Commissioner. “As DOT brings critical safety redesigns to streets in Queens and the rest of the city, students today and every day are leading by example, demonstrating that New Yorkers of every age can be active and benefit from streets and intersections that are safer and easier to walk.”
“Walking to school keeps kids active and provides an opportunity to learn about pedestrian safety. We encourage families to use safe routes to school for their children,” said Department of Education’s Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose.
“International Walk to School Day is a great opportunity to bring western Queens’s residents together. It’s a perfect day to encourage children to engage in physical activity while enjoying their morning walk to school, especially as we continue to keep our streets safer through the Vision Zero program,” said Senator Michael Gianaris.
DOT is also conducting Walk to School events throughout the week at Safety City sites in the Bronx and Manhattan. Third grade students from nearby schools are walking along with DOT Safety Education and Outreach staff and volunteers from their school to the Safety City in their neighborhood. On other days during the week, health care professionals from hospital trauma centers will be guest speakers at the Safety Cities, where they will talk with the students about injury prevention and the benefits of walking.
Walk to School Day began in 2011 as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. Every year it becomes an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school and the need for safe places to walk and bike. It also provides a unique opportunity to engage the city’s youngest pedestrians and help them recognize and build healthy habits for life.
In New York City, traffic fatalities are at an all-time low, with 2014 being the lowest number ever recorded in pedestrian and overall fatalities citywide. Still, DOT continues working to combine education and engineering to achieve Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero goal of reducing the number of traffic and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2025.
On Queens Boulevard, DOT enhanced safety throughout the corridor by constructing pedestrian safety islands, installing new markings, adding bike lanes and dedicated pedestrian space, as well as including new signal improvements as part of the Queens Boulevard Operational Project 1. The redesign echoes DOT’s ongoing work to calm traffic in all five boroughs as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which installs safety improvements on streets to make them safer for all pedestrians, and especially school children.
For more information about DOT’s safety initiatives, visit nyc.gov/dot.