Mark your calendars for Walk to School Day on October 8th!

Safe Routes to School

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Safe Routes to School? Why should I care?

  • Safe Routes to School is a federal transportation program focusing on increasing the numbers of children who walk and bike to school and making it safer for them to do so through Enforcement, Encouragement, Engineering, and Education. We often call it by its acronym: SRTS
  • STA completed a SRTS Plan in February 2009 and has been implementing plan recommendations ever since! Walking School buses are just one of many ways we are making it easier for your kids to walk to school.
  • The STA SRTS Plan is posted on the STA website (www.staindy.org/safe-routes-to-school) and on the back of this sheet.
  • At STA, a volunteer group of teachers, parents, and community partners are responsible for implementing the plan and overseeing the program components. We are always looking for more volunteers and invite you to join us too!
  • As for why SRTS should matter to you… consider the following:

o Fewer than 15 % of children walk or ride their bicycles to school nationwide, down from nearly half of all children in 1969. (STA currently has about 20-25% walkers/bikers!)

o As much as 25 % of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school, resulting in increased traffic congestion and decreased air quality right where are kids are spending their day!

o Walking or biking to school is also a great way to get in your recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day, helping to lower your risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes!

What is a Walking School Bus? How can I participate?

  • It is a group of students walking to school with one or more adults.
  • Four Walking School Bus routes have been designated. Maps of these routes are available at the website listed on the back of this page. Most routes run 5 days / week. Exact schedules of start times and days of operation are posted at www.staindy.org/safe-routes-to-school . We welcome new drivers! Contact Jennifer Pyrz at jennie@pyrz.net to volunteer!
  • If you live near or along one of the routes, consider letting your child / children join the walk and/or walk along with them. On the route map, make note of the route closest to your home and its designated start time (usually around 7:25 AM). An adult will be at the terminus of each route at the designated start time and will walk the length of the route to school. Students may join the route at any location – no reservation required!
  • If you live too far away to walk, then consider dropping your son/daughter off at the end of one of the routes to join up with one of the groups. You can drop your student off at the start of any route or anywhere along one of the routes.
  • Before allowing your child to join one of the routes, please make sure they are familiar with basic pedestrian safety rules and understand the importance of following any direction given by their adult chaperones. All students are expected to act responsibly and courteously for the safety of the entire group.

How can we be safe on our walk or ride?

  • Wear brightly-colored clothes and carry ??ashlights or blinking pedestrian lights. Add blinking lights to the front and back of your bike (white in front and red in back!)
  • Wear reflective gear (safety vests, reflective strips on shoes, backpacks are all great!)
  • Look for traffic at every driveway and intersection. Don’t assume that cars will stop at stop signs or red lights.
  • Be aware of drivers in parked cars that may be getting ready to move.
  • Understand your child’s limitations and use every neighborhood stroll as a teaching opportunity.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.
    • Cross the street safely:
    • Stop at the curb or edge of the street;
    • Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic;
    • Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing;
    • Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing;
    • Walk, don’t run across the street.

Who should walk or bike to school?

  • Allowing your children to walk or bike to school is a personal decision! Only you can decide when your child is ready to start.
  • The Safe Routes to School Committee’s job is to make sure that when and if you do make that choice, you will be providedwithresourcestodososafely. Atthesametime,we’llbeworkingbehindthescenestomakethattheroutesto school as safe as possible!
  • Please note that Walking School Bus Drivers are considered school volunteers and must completed all of the requirements to be a volunteer for St. Thomas including completing Safe and Sacred.

Why doesn’t a walking school bus come near my house?

  • Our first routes were determined based upon where STA families live, where sidewalks and safe crossings exist, and where there was demonstrated interest in walking to school.
  • We would LOVE to add more walking school bus routes! If you are interested in a route that passes by your house and have an adult who is willing to lead kids even just one day a week, we can start a route! Please contact Jennifer Pyrz at jennie@pyrz.net and she will make it official. (which means she will advertise it so that other students can join you on the walk also)

How can I get more information?

  • Our committee has posted some useful information, including safety tips, walking school bus maps and schedules, and fun photos on the school website: www.staindy.org/safe-routes-to-school. We will continue to post relevant safety information, updated maps etc here as they become available
  • The National Center for Safe Routes to School also has a great deal of useful information online and can be found at www.saferoutesinfo.org.
  • We can only improve and maintain the program with your support, so please don’t be shy about sending the committee your ideas, concerns, or thoughts! Email jennie@pyrz.net or leave a note with Mrs. Sochacki to forward to the committee with your input!

The walking school bus route map can be viewed here: http://mapq.st/1zVbyW9. Current schedule is:

RED ROUTE: Begins at 5111 N Kenwood at 7:25am / operates 5 days a week

GREEN ROUTE: Begins at 43rd/Illinois at 7:30am / operates 5 days a week

PURPLE ROUTE: begins at 44th/Pennsylvania at 7:25am / operates 5 days a week

ORANGE ROUTE: begins at 49th/Pennsylvania at 7:30am / operates Wednesday and Friday only (for now)

Additional questions? Contact Jennifer Pyrz at 317.224.9529 or jennie@pyrz.net