I'm super excited about my plans for the morning of October 9th. I'm going to walk to school with some Penn Valley Elementary students from my neighborhood!
It's our third year celebrating National Walk to School Day. It's actually kind of sad because it would be much better if every weekday from September - June was walk to school day. If it were, we'd need fewer buses, our kids would get more exercise, moms and dads and caregivers would connect with neighbors, and everyone might even arrive at school with lovely flushed cheeks. No pinching required. (You remember that, right? Nice girls pinch. The other kind wear blush. I'm pretty sure that phrase wasn't exclusive to my grandmother...)
As it stands, for most of the kids in the Penn Valley - and Welsh Valley - area the only flush they get is from being embarrassed as mom throws kisses at the bus stop. Not this mom, of course.
What is standing in the way of the beautifying and energizing morning air? It's all about sidewalks baby. They simply don't exist along the path - the main thoroughfare - that Penn Valley and Welsh Valley students have to travel to walk to school. I know I've said this all before but it bears repeating. There are many many children in Penn Valley and Narberth, there are two schools and there is simply no safe way to walk to either of those schools. For starters, a stretch of sidewalk between Welsh Valley and Penn Valley would allow for a number of students to walk to and from school, and would allow the middle school students that flood the streets at 3:05 to have safe passage and not have to walk in the road, with the cars. Stretching that good idea a little further would mean that children in Narberth could walk to and from Welsh Valley without risking their lives - and... train commuters could get to Narberth train station, shoppers could get to downtown Narberth, dog walkers, runners, young and old folks could go oh so many places without having to walk in the road. Pedestrian safety! What a novel concept!
There are a bunch of good reasons to install sidewalks including increased property values, making Lower Merion Township a current, relevant and vibrant walkable community, reduced emissions, less school district transportation costs, community-building and many more. None quite as appealing to me as good old safety. Pedestrian safety is at the top of every list...except the lists that start with world peace, good chocolate cake and Frye boots. I think that's my daughter's birthday list. I'd like to add safe walking paths to her list -- and deliver.
If you'd like to walk to school with us on October 9th email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where to meet up. You can also join the Penn Valley Sidewalk Group on facebook and help our efforts by writing to your commissioner in support of sidewalks in Lower Merion Township. A list of commissioner emails can be found at www.lowermerion.org. Choose "contact" and then "commissioners" for a full list.