Cuts in New Jersey school busing could be good for kids
Many New Jersey schools have eliminated "courtesy busing" for students living within 2 miles — a move that could help fight obesity, Zoe Baldwin argues.
After a recent round of school budget cuts, many districts stopped providing bus service for elementary and middle school students who live within 2 miles of school, or high school students who live within 2.5 miles, Baldwin writes on the Tri-State Transportation Campaign blog, "Mobilizing the Region," available here.
"A 2-mile walk or bike ride is absolutely manageable for most healthy kids and is a way to incorporate exercise into their daily routines," Baldwin says. "Recent studies show that students who walk to school have lower levels of stress and lower rates of obesity." Thirty-one percent of New Jersey children under 17 are obese, she points out, and the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day for children.
Walkable, bike-friendly towns encourage interaction and instill a greater sense of community, she also observes. The cutbacks in school busing should prod municipalities to "take a good look at their roads and make needed improvements so that walking and biking to school is easy and safe," Baldwin says.