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Ringing in the holidays with active transportation

Parents and children from Shields Middle School, located in the Brighton Park neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest Side, recently took a fun-filled trip on the CTA Holiday Train. In addition to taking photos with Santa and meeting some elves, the event allowed an opportunity to shine a spotlight on school’s efforts to get more kids to be active on their way to and from school.


Since the school is one of the 25 participating schools in the Healthy CPS Safe Routes to School project, Active Trans is working with Shields to develop Safe Routes Action Plans, which will contain strategies to encourage walking and biking to the school.

Healthy CPS — which is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by the Office of Student Health and Wellness at CPS — works toward promoting health and wellness throughout the school day.

The Shields event was organized by the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, which has set up Parent Patrols in six elementary schools in the neighborhood. While Parent Patrol groups have been mostly focused on general student safety, the groups are beginning to address walking and biking encouragement strategies like walking school buses and traffic safety.

On the half-mile walk to the Orange Line station, members of the Shield’s Parent Patrol put their reflective safety vests to work to ensure the group safely crossed Western Avenue.

Many families from the Shields group were unaware of the holiday train’s existence, and some children were riding a CTA train for the first time in their lives.

It’s not too late to hop aboard CTA’s Holiday Train! Visit the CTA website for the detailed train and Photos with Santa schedule.