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LCF ‘Feet First’ event encourages families to ditch cars in favor of walking, biking to school

Traffic around La Cañada schools during pick-up and drop-off hours is equally infamous and frustrating — and now city officials are hoping to take a first step toward a solution.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the city is hosting a free “Feet First: Step Safe to School” celebration at the Winery Channel parking lot, at Foothill Boulevard and Indiana Avenue. The event aims to teach families how to safely walk and bicycle to school through hands-on activities, games and demonstrations.

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Sponsored by regional transportation planning agency Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), the event coincides with National Walk to School Day on Oct. 10. The idea is to get parents thinking about alternatives to vehicle travel to school, city staffer Paddy Taber explained Tuesday during a La Cañada Flintridge City Council meeting.

“If you notice every morning you’ve got a line of cars, with people waiting to get into La Cañada Elementary,” Taber said of the school nearest City Hall. “We’ll be re-inviting parents to take the initiative to start to walk again to school with their children.”

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The event includes face painting, magic, a caricature artist and fun STEAM activities provided by the L.A. County’s Mākmō makerspace vehicle. Children who interact with each of three game stations will receive a raffle ticket for prizes, including bicycles.

At 12:30 p.m., kids will participate in a “walking school bus” demonstration walk to La Cañada Elementary School, in which walkers safely follow an adult leader. All who finish will receive gift certificates for an ice cream sandwich from La Cañada’s The Baked Bear.

Adults can learn street safety tips and hear about La Cañada’s Climate Action Plan, a long-range plan to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions. Saturday’s event is part of SCAG’s “Go Human” campaign, which aims to reduce regional traffic collisions, said Deanna Dupuy, a regional planner for the agency.

“We hope to create safer, healthier cities through education and information sharing, and events like Feet First that help residents test out ways that make their neighborhoods safer and easier for walking and biking.”

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