Amherst Schools Celebrate International Walk, Ride and Roll to School Day


Photo: Facebook, Newton Safe Routes to Schools

Source: Tracy Zafian

Elementary and middle school families in Amherst will be walking, riding, and rolling to school on Wednesday morning, October 4, as a way to promote active commuting to school.  

“During the pandemic when schools reopened, families got used to driving their children to school,”  explained Tracy Zafian, chair of the Amherst Transportation Advisory Committee.  “It’s time to get more students out of cars and traveling to school under their power.”

The committee has teamed up with Safe Routes to School, a federal program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation,  to make the town walkable and bikeable for kids, starting with the schools.  

In the Spring of 2022, the committee conducted counts of walkers and bikers to school.  “The results weren’t great,”  said Zafian.  “We knew we could do better.”

Coordinating with the school district and the Amherst Department of Public Works, the committee is promoting International Walk, Roll and Ride to School day locally.  

“With a new elementary school on the horizon, we’ve got to look at the safety of our routes to and from school,”  noted Guilford Mooring, Amherst’s Superintendent of Public Works.   His department recently launched an engineering study of the two busy traffic intersections that flank the location of the new school to be built at Fort River.

Crocker Farm Elementary, Wildwood Elementary, Fort River Elementary, and the Amherst Regional Middle School are participating in International Walk, Ride, and Roll to School Day (iWalk). Families who wish to attend can contact their school’s office for details.   More information on iWalk and the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program is available here.

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2 thoughts on “Amherst Schools Celebrate International Walk, Ride and Roll to School Day

  1. Thanks to Kurt Bahneman for spearheading a group BIKE ride from North Amherst to Wildwood this morning! There was a fantastic turnout on a foggy fall morning, with dozens of excited kids eagerly pedaling their way to school, starting at Pine Street and riding up and down the hills of East Pleasant Street.

    Thankfully Kurt has arranged for a police car with flashing lights to follow the bike train to slow traffic as, without a sidewalk or wide bike lane for a large part of it, East Pleasant Street can be a frightening route to bike with inexperienced riders.

    Lydia-Jane Fletcher, co-chair of the Wildwood PGO, had a table set up outside the school with bananas and DONUT holes for all riders and walkers!

    Thank you to all the organizers and participants. I am hopeful that this momentum can continue and our town will prioritize investing in better, safer pedestrian and bike infrastructure in Amherst.

  2. hopefully the great turnout will show the state Amherst needs more money to build permanent infrastructure along this stretch for safer walking/biking- it appears there is a possibility to apply for infrastructure grants through MassDOT
    and kudos to Kurt and Lydia-Jane!

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