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Effort Encourages Kids to Walk to School Elliott-Abshire

A group of students, parents and teachers from Rochester's School 19 took part in International Walk to School Day this morning.

Some community organizations want this to become more of a regular habit to improve kids' health.

Several decades ago, 50 percent of kids walked to school, but now just 13 percent do.

Dina Faticone, director of the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency’s Healthi Kids initiative, sees this as a lost opportunity waiting to be rediscovered. 

FLHSA and the Greater Rochester Health Foundation asked parents about their perceived barriers to allowing their children to walk to school.

Parents mentioned speeding traffic, not enough crosswalks or crossing cards, and fears about neighborhood safety in general.

Faticone says there are ways around those concerns.

"There are some ideas about creating a walking school bus where people from the community can volunteer to pick kids up at select stops and have kind of a train of kids walking to school with an adult," she said.

Other recommendations include securing vacant housing repairing uneven sidewalks, updating faded street signs, and reducing speed limits.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.