MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 1, 2013

Encourage children to walk


— Walking to school should be a viable option for Muskogee children.

It is active and healthier than being driven to school.

But it also must be safe.

Wellness advocates and Muskogee Public Schools officials are seeking to find ways to help more children walk to school.

A “walkability” study will be conducted throughout the school year around Whittier, Cherokee and Irving elementary schools.

Nearly half of a one-year $10,000 grant, which is subject to City Council approval, will be used for the study.

Wayne Johnson, the director of facilities and maintenance in Muskogee Public Schools, is helping with the study.

“It will allow us to get information from parents and students about why they are not walking to school,” he said. “This will help us identify barriers to walking.”

One of the obvious barriers is a lack of sidewalks in Muskogee.

That alone discourages walking to school.

It also discourages walking and running for exercise.

It also keeps our neighborhoods from being connected. Small neighborhoods should be full of people willing to look out for one another. That includes each other’s children.

Walking is good exercise. Encouraging children to walk   helps them retain healthy habits throughout their lives.

We hope the school district and city can find a way to make walking to school safe and easy.