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How to start a park-and-walk

Approximately 7 kids and a couple adults walking along a sidewalk near a school. The kids all have backpacks on.
A guide to starting a park-and-walk by the Portland Bureau of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program.
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What is a park-and-walk?

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. At Safe Routes to School, we understand that there are many reasons why people choose to drive their child to school. A park-and-walk encourages parents and caregivers who drive to school to park 1-3 blocks away, about a 5-minute walk. You can either walk with your child to school or have them walk by themselves if you think it is appropriate. You can also park during dismissal and walk to meet your child at the school or have them meet you at the designated location.  

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.

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!

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

If you want to do more…

  • Consider organizing a promotional activity or an incentive program to encourage parents and caregivers to try a park-and-walk. 
  • Make a map of your park-and-walk route and share it with your school parent teacher association (PTA) or in your school newsletter. The more, the merrier!
  • Consider announcing your park-and-walk at PTA 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 and caregivers to try park-and-walk at your school. Tailoring the message to your school’s interests will make your campaign more successful.

Benefits of a park-and-walk

  • Quality time with your child, students, and/or community
  • Reduced traffic and air pollution around the school
  • Physical activity

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Past Events

Bike + Walk to School Day

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