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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #05-68

City Celebrates International Walk to School Week

This Friday, October 7, 2005, officials from the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will celebrate International Walk to School Week with 80 third graders from PS-4 in Manhattan. City officials, teachers, students and Federal Express volunteers will meet at PS-4 (160th Street and Amsterdam Avenue) at 9:30 am and walk to DOT's Safety City (West 158th Street, between Riverside Drive and the Henry Hudson Parkway) where students will participate in a variety of indoor and outdoor, hands-on, traffic safety activities. In coordination with DOT's Walk to School Program, students will also be provided with maps of the neighborhood. Similar events were held this week at 17 elementary schools throughout the City.

"International Walk to School Day is a great opportunity to encourage kids to walk to school and to do so safely," said DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. "Walking to school is healthy and it means fewer cars, less congestion and less pollution. Teaching children the importance of pedestrian safety will help them stay safe as they navigate our City's streets today and in the future."

DOT runs a number of traffic safety related programs for children, including:

DOT's Safety City, which has sites in each of the five boroughs, uses simulated New York City streets to teach children about traffic safety through hands-on experience.

The Safe Routes to School Program, which focuses on infrastructure improvements around schools, will develop traffic safety plans for 135 schools throughout the City. Thirty-two participating schools will also benefit from long-term capital improvements.

The Safe Schools Sidewalk Program, now in its second year, has replaced or repaired more than 2 million square feet of sidewalk and more than 25 miles of curb at City schools and their adjoining playgrounds.

The Walk to School Program aims to improve children's health, tackle traffic congestion and pollution, and improve safety. The program's five pilot schools (PS-111, PS-90, PS-54, IS 383 and PS 75) also took part in International Walk to School Week with events that encourage children to walk to school and provide them with the skills to do so safely.

International Walk to School Week is sponsored by Fed Ex and National Safe Kids and gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event as they celebrate the benefits of walking. In 2004, approximately 3 million walkers from 36 countries walked to school together in an effort to create communities that are safe places to walk.

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Contact: Kay Sarlin (212) 442-7033
Chris Gilbride