Amherst elementary, middle school students will ‘iWalk’ to school Wednesday

  • Fort River Elementary School

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2023 8:39:51 AM
Modified: 10/3/2023 8:38:51 AM

AMHERST — Rather than riding a school bus or being dropped off from a private vehicle, students in Amherst’s elementary schools and at Amherst Regional Middle School will get to their classrooms by foot, bicycle or some other form of active commuting on Wednesday morning.

Tracy Zafian, who chairs the Amherst Transportation Advisory Committee, said the activity, coinciding with International Walk, Ride and Roll to School Day, aims to reverse a trend that accelerated during the pandemic, when schools reopened and many students were driven to them by their parents and guardians.

“It’s time to get more students out of cars and traveling to school under their own power,” Zafian said.

The town committee has teamed up with Safe Routes to School, a federal program administered by the state’s Department of Transportation, to make the town, and its schools, walkable and bikable for children. The idea is improve on what was seen during a survey in spring 2022, when there were a limited number of students walking or biking to school.

Coordinating with the Amherst school districts and the Amherst Department of Public Works, the committee began promoting the iWalk day through publicity and arranging parent guardians to take the lead so that children could join a bike train to school, or a group that would be walking together 

The event also comes in advance of a new K-5 elementary school that will be built on the site of Fort River School on South East Street. 

The town DPW recently launched an engineering study of the two busy traffic intersections on either end of South East Street near that school site.

“With a new elementary school on the horizon, we’ve got to look at the safety of our routes to and from school,” said DPW Superintendent Guilford Mooring.

Students and families from all three primary schools, Crocker Farm, Wildwood and Fort River, are participating, along with middle schoolers. Families who wish to attend an iWalk should contact their school’s office for details. 

More information on iWalk and the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program is available at


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