Irvine campuses gearing up for fourth annual Walk to School Day on Thursday, Oct. 28

Thousands of IUSD schoolchildren and their families are expected to abandon the family car in favor of comfortable shoes on Thursday, Oct. 28, in conjunction with International Walk to School Day.

This is the fourth year in a row that Irvine is participating in the campaign, which, as the name implies, promotes walking and bicycling to school as a means to improve health, reduce traffic and highlight safe routes to school for kids. We’ve also noticed that it gives families a little extra time to spend together, and Irvine’s pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are pretty much tailor-made for the event.

This year’s Walk to School Day represents a collaborative effort between IUSD, the Irvine Unified Council PTA, the Irvine Public Schools Foundation and the City of Irvine, and it’s partially funded through the “Safe Routes to School” grant.

While many schools will celebrate with their own activities, a districtwide kick-off ceremony will start at 7 a.m. at Northwood Community Park, which is located at the intersection of Bryan and Yale avenues. There, students from Brywood, Northwood and Santiago Hills elementary schools and Sierra Vista Middle School will assemble before marching off to school with parents and local dignitaries. In case anyone needs a little extra pep, Northwood High School’s cheerleaders and band members will also be on hand to perform.

The Irvine Police Department will once again provide additional support to accommodate walkers throughout the city. Motorists are also urged to exercise a little extra vigilance that morning, as organizers predict as many as 10,000 students may take part.