Walk to School Day: Wednesday, September 16th

walking school bus contact
Students are returning for another school year and many will be getting there on foot or bike. The Safe Routes to School Committee works year-round to make it safer and easier for children to walk and bike to and from school. Studies have found that physical activity, such as walking or biking to school, allows students to concentrate better during the school day. And while many students in our county do not live in Grand Marais, many walk or bike to an after-school destination in Grand Marais. This past week, Slow Down lawn signs, an additional speed feedback sign, school zone speed enforcement, and a new school entry design at ISD 166 were all at work reminding our community that school has started and drive carefully to keep students safe. This coming Wednesday (Sept. 16th) will be the first Walk to School Day, with three routes of Walking School Buses in Grand Marais.

Walking School Buses are groups of students and adult volunteers walking to school together. The first monthly event will be on Wednesday, September 16th, accompanied by members of the Grand Marais City Council, the Mayor of Grand Marais, and officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Each Walking School Bus stops at ISD 166 and GES on time for school to begin. If your student normally gets a ride to school, come in a little early and walk or bike with the Walking School Bus from one of the starting locations: the Cook County Courthouse (7:30 am departure), Birchwood Apartments (7:40 am departure), or County Road 7 and 7th Ave. East (7:40 am departure). Students are welcome to join along the route or meet at the starting location (see map for routes).

Will your student be walking or rolling to/from school this year? When not participating in a Walking School Bus, it is recommended that you pick a route with your child and test is out together. Once a student and parent/guardian set a route, it is best that the student follows it consistently so that an adult knows where the student is traveling. *Please note that the Safe Routes to School group, Minnesota Department of Health, and Statewide Health Improvement Program work together to encourage walking and bicycling to school, but do not ensure safety or assume liability for anyone’s commute to or from school.

Cook County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) strives to improve the health of kids and our community by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier, and more enjoyable. In addition to coordinating Walking School Bus days in the fall and spring, SRTS also offers the annual bike rodeo in the spring, in-school bike education, and works to create safer routes with improved pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure, crossing guard equipment, and community signage (“Slow Down & Smile! Kids on the Move!”). The October Walking School Buses will be on Wednesday, October 21st.

For more information about Safe Routes to School, to volunteer, or for a Slow Down lawn sign, contact SRTS Coordinator, Maren Webb, at 218-387-2330 or maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org.

Slow Down and Smile: Kids Heading Back to School Sept. 8th


Students will be heading back to school on Tuesday, September 8th, with many students getting there on foot or bike. Help keep our students safe by driving cautiously and look for students walking, biking, or rolling. To view the Safe Routes to School Grand Marais Route Map, click here, to help you plan your child’s route to school. There will also be a Walking School Bus Day on Wednesday, September 16th in Grand Marais.

Here are several key safety tips to help keep students safe, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

When Driving…

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
  • Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or in bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
  • Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where there are children present.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up – pedestrians can move into your path.

When Walking…

  • Pedestrians 10 years old and younger should be accompanied by an adult or young adult on their way to and from school.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, but if there is none, walk as far left as possible facing traffic.
  • Do not push or shove others when you walk.
  • When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars, and keep looking as you cross.
  • Use a crosswalk if available, and do not cross if a car is coming.

When Biking…

  • When bicycling to and from school, your two best protections are a properly fitted bicycle helmet, and a good grasp of traffic safety rules.
  • Always wear a helmet and make sure to buckle the chin strap.
  • Ride on streets with low traffic volume and lower speeds.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic, and obey all stop signs and signals.
  • Never use headphones or cell phones while riding.

For more information, visit the NHTSA page.

For more information about Safe Routes to School, contact local coordinator Maren at 218-387-2330 or maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org.