MPR Features FFM Op-Ed on Billion Dollar Biking to School Program

Commentary:  For years, kids walked to school without government help  by Tom Steward  

June 11, 2012

     Remember the safety patrol volunteers who got out of class early to stand guard at school crosswalks? The largest safety program in the world today, the School Safety Patrol Program was started in 1921 by the American Automobile Association (AAA) as a community service. AAA Minneapolis still provides all the necessary training materials, safety supplies and recognition items free of charge to 140 schools in Hennepin County.

"During the program's local history, there has never been a traffic-related student death at a Patrol-guarded crossing," according to AAA Minneapolis' website.

It's instructive to keep that model in mind as we fast-forward to a federal government program called Safe Routes to School (SRTS). Safe Routes is itself a throwback, with a goal of returning to the schooldays of the '60s, when four of every 10 elementary students walked or biked to class. That number today is closer to one in 10.

Today, it takes a billion-dollar federal program, replete with government bureaucracy, regulations and red tape, to get those school kids to class.

Read the complete story at MPR's website.


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