ACPS Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School
  • What is "Safe Routes to School"?

    Funded primarily through the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the mission of ACPS' Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is to encourage all students to walk or bike to school and to do so safely as part of a healthy lifestyle. The ACPS SRTS Coordinator provides resources and support through physical education for bicycling and pedestrian safety lessons, encourages participation in National Walk & Bike to School Days, supports crossing guard appreciation and recruitment, disseminates safety information in various languages on a variety of platforms - and so much more!

    For more information about Safe Routes to School, visit SRTS or Safe Routes to School Partnership. Donate to our program

    Over 800 ACPS Students learned to ride a bike in 2019 thanks to the SRTS Bicycles in the Schools (BITS) Program! Many of our students do not have a bike at home, an adult to help them learn, or a safe place to ride. When our students balance and pedal independently for the first time, they are so proud of their hard-earned accomplishments! And we are proud to give students the opportunity to learn a life-long skill that is healthy and fun!

    girl riding bikeskids riding bikesgirls learning to ride bikes

    All second grade students in ACPS receive pedestrian safety education during PE. Gymnasiums are set up to simulate a city with intersections, street signs, crosswalks, and traffic lights. Students take turns riding scooters to simulate vehicles; students on foot are pedestrians. It's a fun way to learn valuable skills necessary for navigating our urban community!

    lc ped edmvcs ped edmvcs ped ed

    All third graders in ACPS participate in Bicycles in the Schools (BITS) during PE. Many students learn to ride a bike - without training wheels - for the first time during PE. In 2019 alone, 1800 elementary school students participated in BITS! Students also ride in middle school - building upon basic riding and road safety skills. Their month-long curriculum culminates in riding off-campus while negotiating neighborhood traffic, following traffic signs and signals, and using proper hand signaling.

    kids bikingkids biking

    SRTS works with community partners to provide bikes, helmets, and locks for students in need. Since the inception of the Bike Giveaway Program in 2018, nearly 100 bikes have been gifted to students!

    bike donation mvcs bike giveaway


    The Walking School Bus

    Walking School Bus

    What is a Walking School Bus?

    A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. That may sound simple, and that is part of the appeal. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school or as structured as a planned route with meeting points, a timetable, and a schedule of trained volunteers.

    Pedestrian Safety Tips

    Bike Trains

    What is a Bike Train?

    A bicycle train is a group of students accompanied by adults that bicycle a pre-planned route to school. Routes can originate from a particular neighborhood or, in order to include children who live too far to bicycle, begin from a parking lot. They may operate daily, weekly or monthly. Often, they are started in order to address parents’ concerns about traffic and personal safety while providing a chance for parents and children to socialize.

    Bicycle trains can be loosely structured or highly organized. For example, bicycle trains can be as simple as neighborhood families deciding to bicycle together. More formal, organized bike trains have a coordinator who recruits volunteers and participants, creates a schedule and designs a route. While requiring more effort, more structured bicycle trains offer the opportunity to involve more children.

    Safety Tips for Biking

    How to properly fit a bike/scooter helmet

    Two fingers between eyebrows and helmetStraps should form a V over earsYou should be able to fit one finger between chin strap and chin

    In Your Neighborhood: Activities to-do at Home

    Traffic Gardens

    Traffi Gardents in Alexandria

    What is a Traffic Garden?

    Traffic gardens are miniature street neighborhoods made up of small-sized streets where children and adults can engage in active learning about roadways and traffic safety in a low-stress environment. Children practice walking, bicycling, and “driving” along roadways and through intersections and crossings, all in an environment free of motor vehicles. In Alexandria, each city-led project gives local children an opportunity to learn about real street design and influence what the streets in their play space looks like. The effort to install these in key locations that serve children and adults is part of the City's Vision Zero Educational Efforts.

    We Love Our Crossing Guards! Thank you for keeping our students safe!

    crossing guards crossing guards mvcs crossing guard in busy intersection dressed as bumble bee

    In the News

    Community Partners

    * Active participant in "Alexandria Moves." Alexandria Moves is a coalition of community organizations that recognizes the connection between physical and mental health and provides resources to support both. Alexandria Moves was created through the Alexandria Health Department's Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) in 2020. For more information, visit @ALXMoves on Facebook.