How to start a park-and-walk

A group of students in backpacks smiling at each other as they walk two by two on a sidewalk. They all have their hands in their pockets on a chilly, October morning.
A park-and-walk might be the right option for you and your family if you live too far from school to walk or roll all the way. Park-and-walk encourages parents who drive to school to drop-off or pick-up their children two to four blocks from school. This allows children to walk the rest of the way.

Families living greater than one mile away from school may find the distance too daunting for a morning or afternoon walk. Other factors, such as heavy traffic or lack of sidewalks, may also be a barrier for students to get to school safely.

Check with your school to see if other families are already coordinating a park-and-walk — maybe you could join in and walk together! It's also really easy to start your own park-and-walk — it's fun to get a group walking together regularly!

Graphic showing students and parents walking from their parked cars to school.

Steps to starting a park-and-walk

1. Find a location about 2-4 blocks away from school where you can safely park. Practice walking the route to school to make sure it's safe. 

2. Try picking your child up from the same spot in the afternoon. Avoid the pickup line!

3. Invite others! Tell your neighbors about your plan and carpool to your park-and-walk spot, if possible. 

4. Enjoy the extra time and exercise with your family!

Park-and-walk: If you want to do more…

  • Consider organizing a promotional activity or an incentive program to encourage parents to try park-and-walk. Safe Routes to School can provide free incentives to encourage participation.
  • Make a map of your park-and-walk route and share it with your school PTA or in your school newsletter. The more, the merrier!
  • Consider announcing your park-and-walk at parent teacher association meetings or at school events.
  • Personalize examples or templates for your school. Perhaps your school community is more concerned about student safety than pollution. Or maybe health is what will motivate parents to try park-and-walk at your school. Tailoring the message to your school’s interests will make your campaign more successful.

What are some helpful tools I need to park-and-walk to school?