HENNIKER — On Friday mornings during the fall, kids will be encouraged to walk or ride their bikes to the Community School as part of a program designed to get kids outside and active before the school day begins.
Walk to School Fridays will be held every Friday from Sept. 28 through Oct. 26. Students, parents and teachers will be gathering at 7:45 a.m. at three locations, including the police station, the intersection of Hillside Drive and Rush Road and the parking lot at Edmund's Department Store. Students will be escorted as they walk or ride to the Community School.
Kids with bus passes can also join in; parents can drop off their children at the three locations.
All distances are under one mile.
This is the third year the Henniker Community School has offered “walk or bike to school days” as a way to promote increased physical activity kids and to raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and biking, according to Patti Osgood, spokeswoman for the district.
“It also helps emphasize the importance of pedestrian and bike safety as well as concern for our environment,” she said.
The program began as part of the federal Safe Routes to School campaign. Osgood said Henniker has an active Safe Routes to School Committee which has conducted several audits and surveys to determine what is needed to have more children walk or bike to school.
That data is being used to apply for a $246,951 federal grant to improve Henniker sidewalks, mark streets, and provide limited signage within a two-mile radius of the school.
“The resulting improvements would benefit everyone by offering safer walking and biking routes, thereby increasing the levels of physical activity of community members, decreasing traffic congestion around the school, and decreasing gas consumption as more people walked or biked ...,” Osgood said.