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Hudson -- Even with the threat of rain, nearly 600 students walked and biked to school May 14 to celebrate National Bike to School Day.
Safe Routes Hudson volunteers, a group working to improve walking and bicycling conditions in Hudson, greeted students at Evamere, Ellsworth Hills, McDowell, East Woods and Hudson Middle School as they arrived the morning of May 14 on foot or pedaling a bicycle.
Safe Routes Hudson, formed in 2011, has offered six Walk and Bike to School Days for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, said Safe Routes Hudson Coordinator Brenda Divine. The participation was up at all five schools from last year. The Middle School grows in participators as students continue to walk and bike through the years.
This year a record number of 588 students participated and 278 bikes were parked at all five schools, Divine said. The last Walk and Bike to School Day was in October 2013 with 393 students participating.
A Safe Routes volunteer at McDowell said there were far less parents dropping off students the morning of the bike to school day than on a typical day.
The Cleveland Clinic Family Health and Surgical Center, Twinsburg sponsored the event, and volunteers passed out water and a healthy snack the clinic provided for all participants. Students also received a Safe Routes Hudson T-shirt and Hudson back pack reflectors.
Bike to School Day raises awareness for the need to create safer routes for bicycling and walking to school. It emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and concerns for the environment, Divine said.
A $210,000 grant in 2012 provided infrastructure improvements such as new bike racks, flashing beacons on North Hayden at the three school zones, and sidewalk installation along Glen Echo Drive from Hudson-Aurora Road to Victoria Parkway and a new crosswalk, with ADA ramps, and sidewalk installation on Middleton Road from Winterberry Drive to Ellsworth School, she said. All projects have been completed.
Hudson physical education teachers taught a bike safety unit over the past few weeks, Divine said. Students who completed a safety quiz entered a raffle to win bike bells, bike storage bags, storage armbands and MOVbands.
The event builds connections between families, schools and the community, Divine said.
Mayor William Currin proclaimed May 12-18 Bike Week in Hudson to encourage residents to use a bike or walk when possible.
Divine said every school and staff member did their part to make Safe Routes Hudson and HCSD Bike and Walk to School Day a success.
Divine wished to give special thanks to all Safe Routes Hudson volunteers, including parents, a retired Cuyahoga Valley National Park facility operations specialist, a Hudson City Council member, Hudson High School Key Club members, Hudson Board of Education president, Hudson Parks superintendent, students from East Woods, McDowell and Ellsworth Hills, Hudson City School District (K-8) physical education teachers, principals, assistant principals, administrative assistants and custodial staffs, the Hudson Police Department Bike Patrol, Hudson police and crossing guards.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing