International Walk to School Day/ Livable Streets Education Invade Washington Square

Mike Lydon's picture

Did you know that yesterday was International Walk to School Day? While many communities may have let this important public awareness opportunity pass by, New York City public school students were out in full force. Perhaps one would expect nothing less in a city where 80% of students already walk to school (transit trips require walking, too!). 

Image: International Walk to School Day

In order to further raise awareness, and to celebrate the sustainable transportation choices New York City's students  already make, The Open Planning Project's innovative Livable Streets Education team hosted an extra special event yesterday in Washington Square. Students from all over the Bronx and upper Manhattan were treated to more than an hour of education and awareness building activities that included a rousing speech from Gil Penalosa, an expert on livable cities, and an impressive--as always--performance by Rahzel of the Roots. Both speakers implored the kids to continue making healthy transportation choices, whether it be walking, bicycling, rollerblading, running, taking transit, or even carpooling to school. Citing his need to stay in excellent cardiovascular shape, Rahzel--also known as the human beatbox-- emphasized to the students how important exercise and walking is to keeping himself and his vocal acrobatics in top form.

Image: International Walk to School Day

Overall, it was a wonderful event with dozens of attendees from the Walk21/APBP conference also participating in the fun. If you know of, or were part of other International Walk to School Day events, go ahead and share them in the comments section below. If you were not, please consider hosting one in the near future. 

Mike Lydon is Principal of the Street Plans Collaborative and co-author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Actions for Long-term Change (Island Press, 2015).



News from Montreal

The weather was not very cooperative, but the skies opened up just enough for my son's school and another school across the street to close the entire block and to have an 'active transportation party'. Given that it had been raining all night, quite a few kids actually arrived by car - far more than normal. It was amusing seeing the drivers get frustrated because the street was CLOSED. The drivers were honking at each other and the kids were having a great time playing in the street! Will post some pictures soon. In the meantime, here is an older picture which shows a typical day of kids walking (and riding) to three separate schools on the same street:

Not sure how many other schools had similar activities in Montreal, but Vélo Québec has been promoting this kind of activity for a few years now. More information about this can be found on their web-site:

Mike Lydon's picture


Thanks for sharing Zvi!

Pictures from Montreal

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