Fewer kids are walking to school these days. This piece from the American Society of Landscape Architects' Land Online wonders what landscape architects can do to reverse the trend.
"Granted, it's more risky for today's kids to walk than it was for me and my generation, and many parents don't favor their kids walking. Some of the reasons have to do with the physical structure of the suburbs where most American families live. Many of the newer 'burbs don't have sidewalks, and road crossings are wider and traffic faster than they used to be. Then there is the fear lodged at the back of every parent's mind that his or her child could be snatched up by a predator."
"Solutions do exist. One organization, Safe Routes to School (www.saferoutesinfo.org), has developed a structured program to show communities how to plan and build safe routes to school (or identify and map existing routes), encourage kids to travel in groups, and train them to avoid strangers. Federal transportation legislation devoted $612 million for the National Safe Routes to School Program from 2005 through 2009. With these institutions and incentives, what are landscape architects doing to implement Safe Routes to School and similar initiatives in school districts where walking is feasible?"