CENTRAL GLENDALE — As part of a growing campaign to reduce traffic and increase pedestrian safety at R.D. White Elementary School, parents on Tuesday parked their cars blocks away to pick up their children.
Teachers held signs with their names as students surrounded them Tuesday afternoon, and parents stood in the waiting area behind a line of orange cones as part of the Park and Walk program. School officials played loud walking-themed music to kick off the pick-up.
"We just appreciate your support in this endeavor, which is all about safety for our students, and the other great thing is everyone gets a little more exercise," Principal Suzanne Risse told parents outside the school.
The Park and Walk program is a pilot after-school process aimed at getting parents out of their cars to pick up their children, said Kara Sergile, a parent who's a member of the school's Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee.
Reducing traffic congestion on an already busy Doran Street, where the school is located, should increase mobility and promote healthy lifestyles among students, she said.
Most students already walk to school, with some riding their bicycles, Sergile said.
About 23% — 170 of 784 students — are picked up by vehicles, Sergile said.
The large amount of student walkers made the program a logical fit for the school, organizers said.
Committee members created fliers with a map of streets — including Doran, Geneva, Howard and Isabel streets — that were available for parking.
School officials also got the OK from a nearby Vons Supermarket allowing parents to park in the lot.
In keeping with the spirit of limiting traffic, committee members said children who ride their bicycles and scooters to school must walk them through the campus.
Parent Ophelia Atento said she has always preferred walking to pick her child up from school.
Traffic on Doran can be a nightmare, so she said any program that encourages diverting vehicles away from the school is a plus.
"I like this walking idea because it can get kind of dangerous with traffic," she said.