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Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
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For immediate use

Sept. 25, 2001 -- No. 455


Walk to School Day, Oct. 2, to help children worldwide connect with their communities

On Oct. 2, millions of parents, children and community leaders from the United States and 19 other countries will walk to school together in celebration of Walk to School Day. Last year, an estimated 400,000 Americans representing 47 states participated, and more than 2 million walkers from nine countries took part – and more are expected this year.

Through funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the University of North Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center created and is hosting the International Walk to School Day World Wide Web site and the National Walk to School Day Web site.

Information is posted on the U.S. site,, describing planned walks in U.S. cities, reasons to walk and more.

The Partnership for a Walkable America established Walk to School Day to encourage parents to walk to school with their children in an effort to promote physical activity, pedestrian safety and to become aware of the difficulties children face on their trip to school.

Lauren Marchetti of the Pedestrian Bicycle Information Center said the walk might also help children and their parents connect to their communities and neighbors.

"We’ve all seen, in the aftermath of the terrible events that took place September 11, that an abiding sense of community can provide safety and comfort," she said. "The walk has always focused on giving children and their parents an additional means of connecting to their neighborhoods and showing them ways to improve their communities. This year, though, that focus seems even more pronounced."

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Note: For information on coordinated walks taking place in your communities, click on

UNC Highway Safety Research Center contact: Sara Latta, (919) 962-7419 or

News Services contact: Deb Saine at (919) 962-8415