Sidewalk Stompers powers community building and safer pedestrian pathways through school-based walking programs and public advocacy. Sidewalk Stompers is a volunteer organization focused on making it safer for children to get to school by building a larger community commitment to pedestrian traffic.
Sidewalk Stompers launched its Walk to School Wednesday program in spring 2016 at Roosevelt Elementary School. Students walking or biking to school on these days enter a raffle for prizes donated by area businesses; accompanying parents are welcomed with donated coffee. Student participation in these events has more than doubled; the first Wednesday of the 2017-18 school year saw almost 1/3 of the student body arriving on foot. Children are learning the benefits of walking to school: 1) the safety benefits of being part of a group and of reduced traffic; 2) the health benefits of making physical activity a habit and preparing students for learning; 3) the social benefits of connecting with parents, friends, and neighbors through shared activity; and 4) the environmental benefits of reducing traffic to improve air quality around their school.
High participation rates in Walk to School Wednesdays have allowed the Sidewalk Stompers to advocate for better safety infrastructure with city, county, state, and district officials. The Roosevelt school zone and primary walking routes now have new and updated crosswalks and safety signage.
Sidewalk Stompers is building on these accomplishments by increasing student and volunteer participation in the Roosevelt Elementary School community, enacting outreach programs to other schools and neighborhoods to aid more students and more communities in effectively advocating for school zone safety infrastructure improvements, and continuing to work with planning officials to better address pedestrian safety needs when updating roads.
Sidewalk Stompers is filling a gap between macro-level planning and neighborhood-specific needs by focusing on the under-served underage students of our community.