October 18, 2007
For the first time VDOT is awarding the city of Charlottesville grant money to promote walking and biking to school.
Since school started in august, Brian Rice and his brother have passed on riding the bus. Instead, they walk to Buford Middle everyday.
“You get exercise and people get into too much trouble on the buses,” said Brian, an eighth grader.
The only trouble he finds on his stroll to school is walking on the sidewalks.
“They too skinny and when you try to walk you be falling off and slipping on the road,” Brian said.
To help keep Brian and others safe commuting to school, Charlottesville is spending the over $300,000 in grant money on sidewalks, crosswalks, a multi-use path and lighting.
In their eyes these improvements around Buford Middle and Venable School will hopefully encourage students to get a little exercise before and after a full day of learning.
“It lets kids explore their world a little more, smell things and maybe pet a dog on the way to school and it seems to get them, when they do get to school if they've walked or ridden a bike they're energy is a little more burnt out and they can sit in class and pay attention,” said Chris Gensic, Charlottesville Park and Trail Planner.
While Brian may not realize all the benefits of walking now, he has found his own good in not riding the bus.
“You can't eat on the bus, but you can eat your breakfast while you're walking,” he said.
The city plans to begin all of the improvements very soon and hopes to have them completed by next school year.
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