By YIQIAN ZHANG
Starting this week of Oct. 4, some Grant Elementary School parents are picking up their children at a new location. Instead of in front of the playground on Garth Avenue, the children will walk to the old Osco store on Providence Road, where the parents wait in parked cars.
Mark Corbett, father of a first-grade girl and a newborn baby, arrived at the pick-up location early at 3:30 p.m. and sat waiting in his car. He welcomes this new program. “I don’t have to get out with the baby,” Corbett said. “It’s a lot easier.”
The parents who volunteered for this program also received a printed yellow sheet with their names last Friday from principal Beverly Borduin, which they carried with them when picking up their kids.
Matt Biermann, father of two girls ages 8 and 2, eagerly signed up for this program once he heard of it. “It’s definitely going to be better for me, because I have a rather squirmy 2-year-old, and I get nervous at the crossing, because there’s heavy traffic,” he said.
This idea came out of a Safe Routes to School meeting in March, conducted by PedNet in join session with Grant and Shepard Boulevard elementary schools.
“The goal is to look at how children travel to school, and brainstorm ways to increase safety and physical activity,” Ian Thomas, executive director of PedNet, said.
During that meeting, Borduin agreed to try to start a pilot program at Grant, according to Thomas. Six months later, it’s happening.
At a little past 3:50 p.m., the children turned the corner at Office Depot, walking in a line under the guidance of Thomas and Grant School Instructional Aide Liz Welpman. “As we walk down, I also teach them pedestrian skills… so that they would grow up to be safe pedestrians in their communities.”
“This is kind of nice,” Biermann said. “I don’t even have to dress up.”