Safe Routes to School

The absence of safe, walkable commu­nities is a leading cause of physical inactivity. This is compounded in rural communities that lack sidewalks and other infrastructure to support walking and bicycling, and where people often have to travel long distances to schools and other destina­tions. Research has shown that walking or biking to school provides children a sense of freedom, responsibility, and daily physical activity. We all want our children to be healthy and strong and do well in school. Getting plenty of physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But children today are not nearly as active as they used to be, and it’s affecting their health. Inactivity is a major contributor to obesity and puts children at greater risk for a host of serious chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease and other diseases.

Imperial County is one of 12 CA4Health funded counties in California working to implement Safe Routes to School practices and sup­porting strategies such as Complete Streets principles that connect children and families by foot and bicycle to their schools and commu­nities at large. In July 2012 the Imperial County Public Health Department held the first Safe Routes to School (SRTS) meeting comprised of community members, school and government officials and individuals interested in implementing SRTS Programs and/or environmental changes that support safe walking and bicycling to and from school and other neighborhoods.

Local Efforts:

The Imperial County Public Health Department-CA4Health has been supporting local cities like the City of Holtville, Westmorland, Winterhaven and Brawley to host events in observance of International Walk to School Day. Additionally, government and non-government agencies have participated in local events to encourage students to walk to school. Most recently, CA4Health received funding to purchase bike racks for local cities to encourage biking among residents. The Imperial County Safe Routes to School effort is working to adopt a region-wide Master Plan to set priorities to increase the access to Safe Routes to Schools programs/enhanced walkable and bikeable communities in Imperial County.

SRTS Meetings:

SRTS Meets quarterly at the Imperial County Public Health Department Training Center, 935 Broadway, El Centro, CA 92243
For more information about the next meeting call: (442) 265-1377 or email

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