International Walk to School Day – October 10th!

Walk to School

Why Walk or Bike?

From the International Walk to School Website:  http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/learn-more/about-the-events/about-walk-to-school-day/

It’s fun! Remember the thrill of riding a bike for the first time or walking to school that first day?

There’s a feeling of joy and independence —a sense of adventure—that doesn’t fade. When walking or biking, parents and children get to appreciate things they don’t notice while driving—listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, seeing friends and neighbors and feeling connected with their community. Parents, children and friends can enjoy one another’s company without the usual distractions.

Walking and bicycling events celebrate these experiences and help make them possible for others. They bring schools and communities together for a common purpose. Most of all, they are fun!

Healthier Habits

Walking and bicycling to school enables children to incorporate the regular physical activity they need each day while also forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Regular physical activity helps children build strong bones, muscles and joints, and it decreases the risk of obesity. In contrast, insufficient physical activity can contribute to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents get one hour or more of physical activity each day. Research suggests that physically active kids are more likely to become healthy, physically active adults, underscoring the importance of developing the habit of regular physical activity early.

Cleaner Environment

When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.

Vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants, resulting in increases in ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter such as particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt and liquid droplets. To learn more about the health risks of pollution, visit https://www.epa.gov/urban-air-toxics.

Promoting Safety

In 2009, 203,000 children ages 15 and younger were injured in motor vehicles crashes; 15,000 of those injured were pedestrians (NHTSA, 2011). Priority must be placed on making it possible for everyone to walk safely, especially in neighborhoods and school zones.

To reduce the risk of injury:

  • Children and adults need to learn safe walking and bicycling skills.
  • Drivers need to watch for others using the road.
  • Safety problems along routes to school need to be fixed.

Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child’s walking or biking trip to school are to:

  • Provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles.
  • Teach children to cross streets at marked crossings and to always look left-right-left.
  • Slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools through traffic calming strategies and enforcement efforts.
  • Work with parents of children with disabilities and special education professionals to identify accessibility barriers.
  • Ensure that walkways are continuous and meet national accessibility standards.
  • Install curb ramps at every intersection and at mid-block crossings.
  • Provide accessible pedestrian signals at intersections.

A note about personal security:

Parents and other adults sometimes worry about children encountering bullies or strangers on the way to or from school. Parents may fear kidnapping or assault. While the actual occurrences are extremely rare, it’s important to deal with both perceptions and documented problems and to create a plan that will minimize risk. Asking parents to walk with children to school is one way to address this concern. Some communities start walking school buses  or bicycle trains as a way to have an adult presence on the street.

Community Benefits

The whole community benefits from efforts to enable and encourage more children to walk or bicycle to school safely. Benefits include:

  • Less traffic congestion.According to the 2011 National Center for Safe Routes to School report, personal vehicles taking students to school accounted for 10 to 14 percent of all personal vehicle trips made during the morning peak commute times (based on National Household Travel Survey Data, 2009). Reducing the number of private vehicles commuting to school can reduce morning traffic around the school. Less traffic congestion also improves conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, creating a positive cycle—as the community sees more people walking and biking, more people feel comfortable walking and bicycling.
  • Stronger sense of community. The common goal of improving conditions for walking and bicycling brings families, neighbors, school officials and community leaders together. The sense of community also builds as children and parents develop walking and bicycling buddies and chat with neighbors on the sidewalk or path.
  • Safer streets.Communities with higher rates of walking and bicycling tend to have lower crash rates for all travel modes. One reason may be that motorists drive more cautiously when they expect to encounter walkers and bicyclists. More walkers and bicyclists can also improve personal security by providing more “eyes on the street.”
  • Lower costs.Encouraging and enabling bicycle and pedestrian trips reduces costs for the family, community and school district. Families save on gas, communities spend less on building and maintaining roads and school districts spend less on busing. In fact, one school district calculated $237,000 in annual savings.
  • Improved accessibility.Enabling students of all abilities to walk and bicycle to school makes it easier for everyone in the community to get around, including parents with strollers, senior citizens, residents without cars and residents with temporary or permanent mobility impairments.
  • Economic gains. Sidewalks, paths and other investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure can increase home values and direct additional traffic to local businesses.

Earn Those Miles For Great Monthly Drawings!

Did you know that you can earn points each time you use alternative transportation to get to and from work!  Save up points and enter monthly to receive great gift card drawings to local eating places, entertainment or other great services in the Triangle!

Signing up is simple at Share the Ride NC links below!  . . . Oh, and it might ask if you are interested in a carpool match, but this is not required to receive alternative points!

One local has won 4 times already great gift cards to local restaurants!  You can too!

Note:  This information allows us to track how many miles of carbon emissions are saved annually for local, state and nationwide reporting!  Information is kept confidential and is not given to anyone!

Chapel Hill Prepares for Hurricane Florence

Town of Chapel Hill Release

The National Weather Service in Raleigh is forecasting Hurricane Florence to impact Chapel Hill and central North Carolina as early as Wednesday, Sept. 12, through the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh is forecasting Hurricane Florence to impact Chapel Hill and central North Carolina as early as Wednesday, Sept. 12, through the weekend.

“This is shaping up to be one of the biggest storms in North Carolina’s recorded history, and we’re taking it very seriously,” said Town of Chapel Hill Emergency Management Coordinator Vencelin Harris. “If you haven’t begun preparations, it’s time. Your safety is our utmost concern.”

For the latest forecast, visit weather.gov/rah/tropical.

Sustained winds of tropical storm force (up to 73 miles per hour) could be present with this storm, and high volumes of rain are expected. Flooding in low-lying areas is expected.

Neighborhood Liaisons | Emergency Shelters | Pre-storm Activities | Areas that Flood | Town and Community Services and Events

Neighborhood Liaisons
Wont’ you be a Good Neighbor Liaison? The Town of Chapel Hill is looking for residents who would like to share and exchange information from the Town with residents in their neighborhoods and homeowners associations.  Good Neighbor Liaisons can register at https://www.townofchapelhill.org/residents/neighborhood-liaison-form

Emergency Shelters
Orange County Emergency Management is responsible for setting up and managing shelters. Should we need to establish shelters, the County will open them at pre-identified locations. Notifications will be sent through Town and County channels as well as local media outlets. For more information, visit orangecountync.gov/departments/emergency_services/disaster_emergency_preparedness.php.

If you’re not signed up for OC Alerts–a fully-customizable emergency alert service–you can do so or check your preferences at member.everbridge.net/index/453003085611768#/login.

We also encourage you to tell family and friends now about the American Red Cross Safe and Well List website, so they will know how to get your “safe and well” message in an emergency. In the event of an emergency, you can register on the redcross.org/safeandwell website.

Pre-storm Activities

  • Town crews have been working on pre-storm readiness activities including checking and cleaning as needed stormwater drains, prepping generators and chainsaws, and planning a coordinated emergency response.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area (see below), be vigilant. Pay attention to weather updates and your local media – including the Town of Chapel Hill at townofchapelhill.org – and via email notices (sign up at info@townofchapelhill.org).
  • Clear and secure your yard debris that could cause damage in high winds (examples: grills, patio furniture, play sets, lawn maintenance equipment)
  • Prepare a disaster preparedness kit. Your kit should be able to support you for up to 72 hours. For more information, visit ready.gov/build-a-kit.
  • To report emergency issues, call 911. These issues may be rising waters, fallen trees or other public safety needs.

Areas of Chapel Hill that are subject to flooding during periods of extended and/or extensive heavy rain:

  • South Estes Drive near Willow Drive
  • Camelot Village Apartments off of South Estes Drive
  • Brookwood Condominiums off of South Estes Drive
  • South Estes public housing neighborhood on Estes Drive Extension near University Place
  • Umstead Drive between Umstead Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Cleland Road between Kendall Drive and Hayes Road
  • West Franklin Street at Mallette Street
  • East Franklin Street at Park Place

Town and Community Services and Events

  • Town-sponsored programs and events Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 5 p.m., through Saturday, Sept. 15, are canceled. Facilities are open. Adjustments to facility schedules will be announced through Town communication channels.
  • Wednesday’s Chapel Hill Town Council meeting is postponed. A make-up date will be announced at a later date.
  • Adjustments to Town meetings will be posted to townofchapelhill.org/calendar. Other Town services will remain fully operational as long as it’s safe for attendees as well as Town staff. Updates will be posted at townofchapelhill.org/emergency.
  • Tar Heel Downtown, Friday, Sept. 15, is canceled.
  • Chapel Hill Public Library will make adjustments during the weather event.No items will be due from Thursday through Monday and no fines will accrue from Thursday through at least Monday.We will also extend the time period for items on hold during the weather event.If you have an item due or due to be picked up during the storm, please do not worry – you can return or pick up items after the storm without penalty.
  • For the latest information from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, visit chccs.org/
  • For the latest information from UNC-Chapel Hill, visit alertcarolina.unc.edu/

Stay Connected
The Town of Chapel Hill provides information about services during emergencies on its website, townofchapelhill.org. Follow the Town’s social media accounts for updates: Twitter – @ChapelHillGov@ChapelHillFD, and @ChapelHillPDFacebook.com/ChapelHillGov; and Instagram – ChapelHillGov.

September is National Preparedness Month
Regardless of the impact Hurricane Florence has on our community, it provides a great opportunity for all of us to prepare for a variety of incidents that could affect us.

Visit https://www.townofchapelhill.org/Home/Components/News/News/13714 for more information and resources to help you prepare.