The return of Westport Walks Weekdays saw all the schools in Westport step into action to promote sustainable travel to school. To help celebrate the day the RTE Nationwide television programme came to Westport to film the event. The day was an enormous success with all schools making a big effort to reduce car use on the journey to school.
In Scoil Padraig, Westport, over 300 pupils and all staff walked, Park’N’Strided and cycled to school. Only one car arrived at school and that car carpooled.
Over 40 pupils cycled and scooter-ed There were no traffic problems outside the school gates. Lots of parents enjoyed their teas and coffees and admired all the art work on display throughout the school. Pupils designed large posters and displays about sustainable travel to raise awareness in the area.
The Sacred Heart School celebrated the day by launching their Greenest Class Competition. Points will be based on waste reduction the highest numbers of smartest travellers – extra points will be given cyclists.
The Greenest class will then have a smart travel daytrip at the end of the school year. This initiative will be monitored by the committee and they will check classes randomly. 20 girls cycle to school which is a big achievement as no one had cycled to the school in over 3 years!
Elevan girls cycled over 8 miles to school from Newport town! Those that cycle to school at least once a week for a month will get a free breakfast courtesy of Westport Smarter Travel.
Several walking and cycling groups have also been created by the Travel committee and Coordinator. The groups meet at various locations and walk or cycle to school together.
Rice College, Westport, also celebrated the day by welcoming 18 cyclists to school. Three students regularly cycle to school so this is a major improvement. The school Travel Committee and Coordinators will also complete random checks once a week and cyclists will get a free lunch on these check days.
One hundred students and staff will cycle the Great Western Greenway to help raise awareness of smart travel. The class of 3A completed cycle training under the guidance of Eva Gannon and Noel Gibbons as part of their CSPE class. The third years plan on giving cycle training to all First years classes.
Holy Trinity NS, St. Colmcille’s NS and Gaelscoil Na Cruaiche also saw hundreds of pupils, parents and teachers cycle, walk, Park’N’Stride and carpool to school. Smart travel modes averaged around 90% per school!
The event was a great accomplishment by everyone involved. There was a great atmosphere in the town and later that day one commuter even commented that the schools were closed as there was no traffic – he didn’t realise it was because everybody walked and cycled to school. There was no noise of loud car engines just the sounds of laughter and voices chatting quietly on the journey to school.
Other school events planned for the remainder of the year include free cycle training, Golden Boot awards, Get In Gear courses and lots of competitions.
Our featured picture above shows Sharon McGreal and pupils from Scoil Padraig in Westport who walked to school as part of the Westport Walks Weekdays.