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Decades of research shows that expanding roads doesn’t provide lasting congestion relief. More lanes means more traffic.

Walking Wednesdays (and more) at Prieto Academy

(This blog is part of our series chronicling our work with Healthy CPS. Read more about the project here.)

Since the beginning of the Healthy CPS project last spring, Prieto Academy in the Cragin neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side has served as a great example of the type of work this project has been able to accomplish.

Assistant Principal Amber Richard has been an important part of this work at the school serving kids in pre-K through 8th grade.

Through meetings and workshops, she's been creating lots of opportunities to obtain feedback and garner support from school staff and parents (See another example of administrative support among Healthy CPS schools here).

In the past year, Prieto hit the ground running, planning an extremely successful Walk to School Day event in October, which laid the groundwork for more Walking Wednesday events throughout the school year, including five this spring.

For Walking Wednesdays, Prieto established a meeting point a few blocks from the school where students meet to walk as a group. Some students already at the school have been walking back to the meeting point to join the group for the walk to school!

Prieto was the first school for which Active Trans completed a school-specific Safe Routes Action Plan (SRAP), detailing recommendations of specific ways to improve the safety of students walking and biking and to increase the number of students traveling to and from school through active transportation.

By the end of the project this September, a total of 25 CPS schools will have a personalized SRAP to better assist their work to increase student active transportation.

This fall, Prieto hopes to continue its leadership in active transportation promotion by making Walking Wednesdays an every-week event.

Additionally, recommendations from Prieto’s SRAP will be filtered into the school handbook and other messaging aimed to make arrival and dismissal procedures safer.

Prieto also plans to establish a Wellness Team to continue to move forward with safety and encouragement recommendations, such as those already underway.