It was busy Wednesday morning at Liberty Ridge Elementary, but not with parents dropping their kids off at school.
Seven South Washington County schools are participating in a $60,000 Safe Routes to School grant over two years. The idea behind Wednesday’s event was to see how things would go if more students biked, walked or carpooled, and what future infrastructure and/or signage might be needed for potential grant requests, said Eric Skow, assistant principal at Liberty Ridge.
But the event was also about “building community,” Skow said, and showing students that biking or walking to school can be fun.
Brenda Thomas, who has a child at Liberty Ridge, works for AAA in Minneapolis and helped coordinate the event. Her boy, a fifth-grader, usually rides the bus.
“But he always wants to ride his bike,” she said.
Thomas said she hopes the event makes parents more comfortable with letting their children get to school on their own, and promotes safety at the same time.
Tracie Eastman, who has two children at Liberty Ridge, drove to school on Wednesday, but only to drop off a backpack weighed down with textbooks. Her son was biking and her daughter, a kindergartner, was walking from a friend’s house.
Both normally take the bus, and she expected her kids and other students would be more energized after some physical activity Wednesday morning.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Eastman said. “It’s a beautiful day and the kids should be out.”
She added that traffic along Settlers Ridge Parkway can get congested during pick-up and drop-off times at Liberty Ridge, and said the speed limit on the road should be lowered.
Woodbury traffic officer Scott Melander was out on his bike patrolling the area after coming to Liberty Ridge from Red Rock Elementary, where he said the streets were calmer and the bike racks were full.
Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens was also stationed at a corner helping students get to school Wednesday, along with the Liberty Ridge mascot.
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