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Walking to school gets a boost in West Windsor

By Kristine Snodgrass, Staff Writer
   WEST WINDSOR — About 130 parents and students gathered Wednesday morning in West Windsor to walk to Maurice Hawk Elementary School as part of International Walk to School Day.
   Participants gathered at the township municipal building, where they were joined by volunteers, police and township officials. The group walked together to the school, picking up more parents and students along the way, said Chris Scherer, volunteer for the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance.
   ”The end goal is to actually get kids to walk from home to school … getting them thinking in that direction,” he said.
   It is the third year that the alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycle and pedestrian safety and access, has organized the event.
   ”Each year it’s gotten bigger and better,” he said.
   In addition, parents and children gathered separately in neighborhoods to form “walking school buses,” which are groups of students that walk together to school with a couple parents or guardians for safety, Mr. Scherer said.
   ”They pick it up as they would a school bus, except they’re walking,” he said, adding that it is a way for children whose parents can’t accompany them walk to school with supervision.
   Once at the school, participants learned about safety and how to form a walking school bus, he said. Students did an activity, signed a banner, and received stickers, while volunteers gave parents surveys to determine if walking is right for their situation.
   The alliance was created in 2006 by members of the defunct Mayor’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force.