The Bedford Public Schools received recognition for their 2020 Safe Routes to School efforts at the annual award ceremony on June 8th at the Massachusetts State House. Like many ceremonies in 2020, this was delivered during a live Zoom event.
Bedford has partnered with Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Safe Routes to School program since 2008 and has received multiple program awards over the years. The annual Safe Routes to School ceremony is an opportunity to acknowledge partner schools that have gone the extra mile in executing and documenting their 2019 – 2020 accomplishments thereby qualifying for individual partner level awards. Levels are determined via the completion of various tasks, each with a designated point value, throughout the school year and culminating in a Gold, Silver, Bronze, or Basic Level achievement. This year, Bedford was proud to be honored with a Gold Level Achievement Award.
The Healthy Bedford Task Force, which includes school principals, municipal staff, town committee members, works with stakeholders to promote programs and policy change intended to promote healthy and active living opportunities in our town. Safe Routes to School efforts have included Walk and Roll to School days, bike racks, bike rodeo, pedestrian and bicycle safety training, the John Glenn Middle School Infrastructure improvements, and bike lending program. This year, the Task Force also worked with the Bedford Public Schools Wellness Committee to include active transportation language in the Wellness Policy.
According to Senior Safe Routes to School Outreach Coordinator, Judith Crocker, “Healthy Bedford could easily be renamed Team Bedford! These dedicated volunteers, school faculty, and municipal staff work together to successfully and enthusiastically promote safe and sustainable student walking and biking among Bedford students. They consistently strive to improve student safety by matching school concerns with benefits of the MassDOT Safe Routes to School program. Such ambitious work is a can-do model for all schools to achieve.”
The Healthy Bedford Task Force aims to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools both on special event days as well as every day. The goal is to reverse the decline in children walking and bicycling to schools, to increase student safety, build important pedestrian and bicycle awareness, and to help reverse the alarming nationwide trend toward childhood obesity and inactivity. The increased need for and subsequent installation of bike racks at our schools, and the numbers of students and other community members walking and biking as means of transportation, highlight how Bedford has embraced that goal. Find more information about the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program on their website. For ideas on how you can participate in Walk and Roll to School Day, see your school newsletter or check out our Facebook page at: Healthy Bedford. For more ideas on active commuting, see www.bedfordma.gov/healthy-bedford