It’s A New Day: Kids Walk To School

COVID has upended many elementary school routines.

Youngsters attend split sessions — morning or afternoon. There’s no cafeteria service.

And — go figure — more and more kids are walking to school.

Many parents don’t want their kids to ride buses. Not every mom or dad is available every day to drive every kid. So there they are, each morning: boys and girls on foot (and bikes).

It’s almost like the old days.

Except — over the years — Westport has forgotten how to handle kids heading on their own to class.

Wednesday is National Walk to School Day. Kings Highway Elementary celebrates it starting today, through Wednesday.

The school’s PTA figures it’s a great way to focus on road safety.

Parents will be stationed at Post Road West by Ludlow Road and Kings Highway North. They’ll wear neon, hand out balloons, and make themselves and their kids visible — even though (or actually because) there are no school safety zone signs and few crosswalks near the Post Road West building.

Children have made signs, promoting school zone driving safety. They’ll hang them in front of the school. Yesterday, families wrote sidewalk chalk messages about the topic.

In the absence of state signs, this homemade sign — made yesterday — was posted near the school.

The Post Road — aka US 1 — is a state thoroughfare. The town is limited in what it can do. The Kings Highway PTA is working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and town officials to increase safety precautions, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

So this week — if you see kids walking to Kings Highway (or any other school) — slow down. Wave. Give a gentle honk of support.

And given them plenty of room to enjoy themselves.

In 2014, Kings Highway celebreated Walk to School Day (Top, bottom photos/David Gusitsch)

9 responses to “It’s A New Day: Kids Walk To School

  1. This is great and Kudos to the PTA for their efforts! One caveat: Please ask people who take your gifted ballots to not let them go into the sky. When they are through with them, simply deflate and put in the trash. Loose ballots can eventually lead into our waterways where sea life is dangerously affected.
    Pat Porio

  2. emily abate guttman

    This is a fantastic initiative. We live off of Sylvan in Old Hill and there is no crosswalk at this intersection despite the many Children crossing here to access King’s Highway.

  3. Christine Meiers Schatz

    I walk to and from KHS every morning with my twins, who are in Kindergarten, and I’ve run along the same stretch of Post Road for years. Most days it is truly harrowing how fast the cars are driving. While we love being able to walk, I often end up clutching their little hands too hard. There are no school zone signs, crossing guards, or other safety precautions along our route. Other towns, like Greenwich, have worked with the state to make sure that they have better crosswalks and flashing school zone signs. Those signs not only inform drivers that fines are doubled for speeding, but also show the speed of passing cars. Don’t our children deserve the same protection?

    Walking to school benefits the environment and our children. It gives them additional daily exercise, and studies have shown a laundry list of other benefits for students, including (a) improved alertness and creativity, (b) higher verbal, numeric, and reasoning abilities, and (c) less stress and improved mood during the school day.

    I hope everyone will join me and other town officials in keeping pressure on the state to create a well-marked school zone for KHS. I also hope we can include improvements to our town roads that increase pedestrian safety in the next fiscal budget.

  4. I want thank the pta And dot that they are trying to make it a school zone and crosswalk from what I heard from the dot and bos as someone on rtm transit committee I do ask king high way pta alway reach to rtm and other thanks to all the kids that are there helping today and parents that support any ques please reach out to me sal liccione rtm district 9 you guys are doing a great service

  5. I love the walking and biking but nix the gentle honk.

    As a bicyclist and walker I have never heard a “gentle” honk. Even friends have scared the beejesus out of me with the “gentle” honk.

    Hint: the honk sounds much louder outside of the car than inside.

    The kids and neighbors will appreciate it.

  6. Great efforts by all. Although I can’t believe some group hasn’t stepped up to provide a crossing guard or some help at this dangerous stretch of road. If the PD can post a person at every pothole etc being repaired can’t as much be afforded our children ? I would gladly volunteer this duty if the town would supply the necessary support. Ex: crossing sign and reflective vest

  7. Carl Addison Swanson

    Kudos on bringing some attention to an ongoing problem. We live off North Avenue, a short distance from Bedford Middle, and it is North Avenue that needs some “blinking” lights at Staples, Bedford, Coleytown Elementary & Middle Schools. Cars & trucks routinely drive 50 MPH or faster during this stretch disregarding pedestrian crossing lanes altogether. North Avenue has become an exit road for commuters to/from Easton, Weston, & Wilton. The First Selectman turned a deaf ear to any suggestions and the Chief of Police stated “we don’t use traffic lights to control traffic.” HUH!!?? The Chief also stated the “little green men” located downtown and on Riverside to remind drivers to slow down, are “too expensive for North Avenue.” It will sadly take someone to be killed to gain any action. At least they did implement a super side walk . . . .

  8. MaryAnn Meyer

    The sidewalks along Center Street that serve students attending Green’s Farms School are in need of repair. I know the Town has spent most of the summer installing and repairing sidewalks in other areas of Town.
    Hopefully, the Center Street sidewalks will be repaired soon.

  9. Obviously, I meant Balloons. I don’t know where ballots came from!