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Media Alert: International Walk to School Day happening on safer streets this Wednesday, Oct. 7

Streets Safer for Students on International Walk to School Day This Year

1397664_656088427775376_1952272155_oBest Foot Forward celebrating improved driver yield rates in Orange County during international event on Wednesday

Orlando, Fla., Oct. 5 2015 – Thousands of Orange County students, parents, and community leaders can feel safer this year on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, Oct. 7, with more drivers stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks, thanks to Best Foot Forward (BFF), a pedestrian safety initiative dedicated to reducing pedestrian deaths and injuries in Central Florida through enforcement of driver yield law, persistent application of low-cost engineering, and community education.

In the last month alone, the number of drivers stopping for pedestrians increased by 16 percent near Blankner K-8, at Michigan Ave & Orange Ave., and increased by three percent near Sadler Elementary School at Oak Ridge Road & Texas Ave. Since BFF launched in 2012, the cumulative driver yield rate for 40 mph and higher roads in Orange County has climbed from five percent to 25 percent.

BFF volunteers will participate in Walk to School Day with elected officials, Orange County Public school students, Healthy Central Florida, Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation to celebrate safer streets and also raise awareness about pedestrian safety around schools where driver yield rates still need improvement.

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NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Media visibility opportunities are available as students, their parents and BFF volunteers will be waving “iYield4Peds” signs as they walk or bike to school. Media contacts and more details on activities are listed below.

School                                                                                                                                   Walk Time  

Lakemont Elementary School                                                                                      8:00 – 8:45 a.m.

  • N Lakemont Ave, Winter Park, Fla. 32792
  • Activity: Participants will meet at Phelps Park (1200 N Phelps Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789) with Winter Park City Commissioners Tom McMacken, Carolyn Cooper & Vice Mayor Sarah Sprinkel to join parents and students of the Walking School Bus on a walk to school. Parents will stand along Lakemont after the walk & hold signs encouraging motorists to slow down. Signs and refreshments will be provided at the school.

Spring Lake Elementary School                                                                                    7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

115 Spring Lake Circle, Ocoee, Fla. 34761

  • Activity: Joseph Cormier will meet students at the DP convenience store next to Carlos’ Diner (1500 Wurst Rd, Ocoee, FL 34761) at 7:30 a.m. and walk with the group to the school. More than half of the students at Spring Lake walk to school regularly during the school year.

Sadler Elementary School                                                                                               7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

4000 Oak Ridge Rd., Orlando, Fla. 32809

  • Activity: Participants are meeting from 7:30 – 7:45 a.m. with Rene Maldonado, Sadler Elementary P E Teacher, at the Summerset Apartments (5900 Casa Del Rey Cir, Orlando, FL 32809). At 7:45 a.m. walkers will head towards Sadler Elementary together.

Blankner K-8                                                                                                                        8:15 – 8:45 a.m.

2500 South Mills Avenue, Orlando, Fla. 32806

  • OCPS School Board Representative Linda Kobert, District 3, will be walking to Blankner K-8.

Rock Springs Elementary School                                                                                   8:15 – 8:45 a.m.

2400 Rock Springs Road, Apopka, Fla. 32712

  • Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and OCPS School Board Representative Christine Moore, District 7, will be walking to Rock Spring Elementary School.

Participating Orange County Public Schools:

Dommerich Elementary School, Maitland Middle School, Lake Sybelia Elementary, Whispering Oak, Lake Silver, Bay Meadows, Thornebrooke, Catalina, Dover Shores, Dr. Phillips, Eccleston, Endeavor, Grand Avenue, Hillcrest, Hunter’s Creek,  John Young, Kaley, Lake Como, Millennia, Palm Lake, Palmetto, Pineloch, Sand Lake, Sunset Park, Tangelo Park, Waterbridge, West Creek and many other schools throughout Orange County.

About International Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October. Last year more than 50 Orange County Public Schools Participated with thousands of students walking to schools in the area.

About Best Foot Forward & Pedestrian Safety in Metro Orlando

Smart Growth America’s Dangerous by Design Report ranked Metro Orlando as the “Most Dangerous” pedestrian metro of the past decade, where on average two pedestrians are injured every day and one is killed each week. The Best Foot Forward pedestrian safety initiative was launched in June 2012 to reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries in Metro Orlando by getting drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and getting pedestrians to be more careful crossing the street. More than a campaign, this “Triple-E” behavioral change process seeks to create lasting social good through the consistent and persistent application of low-cost engineering, community education, and high-visibility enforcement.

Initiated by Bike/Walk Central Florida under the leadership of former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapinand spearheaded by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, the Best Foot Forward coalition includes Orange County Government, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando Health, LYNX, Winter Park Health Foundation, MetroPlan Orlando, the City of Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Winter Garden, Apopka, and towns of Eatonville and Windermere as well as police chiefs throughout Orange County led by Orlando Police Chief John Mina and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

The long-term goal is to cut pedestrian injuries in half in ten years. The  short-term goals are to increase driver yield rates by 60 percent on roads posted 35 mph and lower, and a 10 percent increase on driver yield rates year over year on roads posted 40 mph and higher. To learn more, visit www.iyield4peds.org.

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