TAMA NEWS-HERALD - Jennifer Kucera, South Tama Safe Routes to School coordinator, assembled a group of community and school staff volunteers to launch a new effort here last week.which has a dual purpose - provide safety for students going to and from school and to promote walking and bicycling.
Officials including Tama City council member Dan Zimmerman, Toledo Mayor Pam Wood, Tama firefighters and police, STC High School Teens Against Tobacco group members, school teachers and administrators took part in the exercise which saw most of the 750 students at the Elementary School walk to school on Thursday morning.
Students who ride the bus were delivered to the parking lot at the Tama-Toledo Country Club and escorted by adults to the school grounds. Along the way they were instructed in safely crossing streets and where to walk.
Tama Police Sgt. Jeff Filloon, at right, escorts a group of elementary students to school last week as part of a Safe Routes to School program which has been launched here. News-Herald/John Speer
The exercise in Tama was a first in the area according to a spokesperson for the Area 6 Planning Agency.
Kucrea, SRT coordinatior, provided this backgorund information: SRTS is a rising international effort to increase safety and promote walking
and bicycling throught the" 5 Es" : engineering, education, enforcement,
encouragement, and evaluation. The 2005 SAFETEA-LU federal transportation bill included a new SRTS federal funding source of $612 million over five
years for both infrastructure and noninfrastructure reimbursement grants.
Reasons for the program
Over the past two to three decades, there has been an incredible rise in
obesity and physical inactivity in kids and adults. The impact on health and
health care costs is high and will continue to rise dramatically. In 1969,
roughly half of the kids walked or biked to school. Now it's about 15
percent. For school trips trips than one mile, 29 percent walk or bike.
There is a strong correlation between communities with good bicycle and
pedestrian environments, and having more active residents. Air quality and
traffic congestion around schools has also become an issue.