Safe Routes to School

Virginia Safe Routes to School logo

“Promoting active, healthy lifestyles and safe infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking

Welcome to the Arlington Public Schools Safe Routes to School website! Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program that works to make it safer and easier for students to walk or bike to school. SRTS programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities that work to improve safety, enhance accessibility, and reduce traffic and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

This website contains educational information on how you can help to encourage students to walk and bike safely to school. You can learn about the Safe Routes to School program, find resources to help implement walking and biking programs, learn about successful programs in Arlington, research funding opportunities, and quickly access partner organizations.

Benefits of walking or biking to school:

  • Walking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day. Students who walk to school have higher levels of physical activity throughout the day.
  • Studies show that students who walk and bicycle to school are more physically active, have lower body mass index scores, and have lower obesity levels than students who are driven or bused to school.
  • Walking and biking are better for the environment, help reduce vehicle traffic caused by drop-offs/pick-ups, and allow students a chance to socialize before and after school.

The Safe Routes to School office can provide you with information on:

  • Walk & Bike to School Day events and celebrations
  • Crossing Guard Appreciation Week
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Education in Schools
  • Student Travel Tallies (administered annually)
  • Evaluation of student arrival and dismissal procedures and walking/biking conditions at your school
  • Approaches to working with APS and/or Arlington County on infrastructure concerns and requests for pedestrian access improvements on or near school grounds

* For Traffic enforcement in school zones, please communicate with your School Resource Officer or call the Arlington Police Department non-emergency line at 703-558-2222.

News Updates

Virginia Safe Routes to School by the Numbers 2018-19

Check out these impressive state-wide Safe Routes numbers for the 2018-19 school year!


APS did our part to contribute to this record-breaking year and are well-positioned to keep moving forward–walking and wheeling–when students return in September 2019. Happy Summer!

Bike, Walk and Roll to School Day 2019

PrintTo promote the great health, environmental, community-building and transportation benefits of biking and walking to school, Arlington Public Schools took part in Bike, Walk and Roll to School Day 2019 on Wednesday, May 8.

This year marked the eighth annual national celebration, and students here in Arlington once again joined schools, families, community members, law enforcement and elected officials around the country in celebrating the joys of biking, walking and rolling to school.

Camera Crew interviews student cyclists at ATS

APS school-based events included bike parades, bicycle check-ups, safety resources, and give-aways from DC Bike Ride, BikeArlington and WalkArlington. The happenings at Arlington Traditional School even generated some local news coverage on WJLA-TV (ABC)!

For fun ways to encourage biking and walking on event day and every day, visit the national Walk Bike and Roll to School Day website, check out all the great resources on Virginia’s SRTS site, and use BikeArlington‘s Bike Walk and Roll to School Day Toolkit!

Jamestown Crossing Guard Named One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2018-19

CG Patterson 2Jamestown Elementary School Crossing Guard Kathy Patterson has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for 2018-19.  

Nominated by multiple Jamestown families, Patterson is one of six Crossing Guards across Virginia to receive the honor for 2018-19.  VA SRTS received nearly 200 nominations for 72 different crossing guards throughout the Commonwealth this year.

Jamestown celebrated Ms. Patterson’s recognition with a school-wide assembly, attended by students, families, staff, and special guests, including APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy and representatives of the Arlington County Police Special Operations, which includes the Crossing Guard Unit and School Resource Officers.Jamestown After CeremonyThe state-wide honor is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual Safe Routes to School celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.

MEET KATHY:  Check out this fun video, Chapter #6 of Arlington’s Car-Free Diet Stories, which introduces you to Kathy — and a few members of her Jamestown/APS fan club!


Resources Provide Guidance for Families
on E-Scooter Safety and Age Requirements

The Arlington County Board recently approved a nine-month pilot project for Shared Mobility Devices (SMDs). IMG_5859-630x420SMDs include shared bicycles, shared electric bicycles and shared electric-assist scooters (e-scooters). The pilot will test a framework for use of SMDs in Arlington and evaluate the impact of the SMDs in our community. There are opportunities for the community to submit comments on the program, and general information on the Arlington County SMD pilot is available online.

While shared bicycles have been around for a while, shared e-scooters present some unique considerations for the general community and for APS in particular. To ensure that students, staff and families understand SMD user expectations and County regulations, APS has prepared the following list of FAQs that answer the most relevant questions. Families are also encouraged to review the County webpage , Arlington County Commuter Services dockless webpage and guidelines prepared by e-scooter operators with students to become familiar with this new transportation mode and the guidance Arlington has made available.  


WBTSD_2inch_ColorWalk and Bike to School Day 2018 Sets New State Record 

Walk and Bike to School Day is an annual celebration that encourages students to bike or walk to school while teaching them about the health, environmental, and travel benefits of active transportation. Held annually on the first Wednesday in October, Walk and Bike to School Day also helps to raise community awareness about the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety education, safe routes to schools, well-maintained walkways, and traffic calming in our neighborhoods and around our schools.

The 2018 celebration took place in Arlington and around the world on October 10. Virginia set a new state record with 357 Walk and Bike to School Day events. APS added 37 celebrations to that total, including APS’ 2018 Walk and Bike to School Day “focus school” Claremont Immersion Elementary School, which hosted a bi-lingual multi-modal transportation celebration on feet, scooters, bikes, and trikes!

Visit  Walk and Bike to School Day or check out WalkArlington‘s Walk and Bike to School Day Toolkit for more information!


Student iRide SmarTrip Card Makes it Easier and Cheaper for Arlington K-12 Students to Get Around!

Student_iRide_Card200x200It Saves Money.  Arlington Transit (ART) bus rides only cost $1.00 with the card.
It’s Easy. It’s just like a regular SmarTrip card that works on ART, Metrobus, Metrorail and other buses.
It’s Convenient. You don’t have to worry about carrying cash.

Arlington students in grades K – 12 can purchase the card for $2.00 at any Commuter Store with locations in Ballston, Rosslyn, Crystal City and Shirlington, or the Mobile Commuter Store, which makes regularly scheduled stops throughout Arlington. Students must purchase the card in person, complete the registration form (see below) and show their student ID (if applicable) or any form of ID at the time of purchase.

Registration Form (PDF) — The Student iRide SmarTrip card must be registered at the Commuter Store at the time of purchase. Print and fill out the registration form ahead of time and bring it with you to the Commuter Store to make purchasing the card quicker and easier.


APS Safe Routes to School HEADS UP! PSA Contest Entries Available for All to Use

SRTS HIGHLIGHTS PHOTO GRIDWhen traveling to and from school each day—whether on foot or by bike; by school bus or public transit; by car or carpool—staying safe means staying alert. Staying alert means keeping HEADS UP!, paying attention and looking out for yourself and others.

To encourage safe travel habits, APS SRTS sponsored HEADS UP!, a contest challenging students to create video and print Public Service Announcements that remind students to stay alert–and safe–while traveling to and from school.

Open to all APS students, grades K-12, the Contest asked APS students to create PSAs incorporating the “HEADS UP!” theme. Judges are now choosing winners for each Format (Video or Print) in each Grade Level Category (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12).

To enter, students were asked to create an original Video or Print PSA, complete the Entry Form and submit by March 22. Winning HEADS UP! PSA entries have been posted online for APS schools to use internally to promote safe travel to and from school.

To see the student-created HEADS UP! print and video PSA entries, click here. Congratulations and thank you, students!


APS Crossing Guard Named One of Virginia’s Most Outstanding for 2017-18 PHOTO-Almaz_Abebe (2)

Kenmore Middle School crossing guard Almaz Abebe has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (VA SRTS) program as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards for the 2017-18 school year. VA SRTS received over 150 nominations for 76 different crossing guards throughout the Commonwealth this year. Abebe is one of six crossing guards state-wide to be recognized as one of Virginia’s Most Outstanding. The honor is part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, an annual VA SRTS celebration recognizing Crossing Guards for the critical role they play in the safe routes to school network.

Nominated by a Kenmore family, Abebe is the ever-vigilant crossing guard who is at her post on busy Carlin Springs Road before dawn and again at afternoon dismissal every school day, in all weather conditions. Known for her strength, awareness, and professionalism, she maintains firm control over the flow of buses, cars, construction vehicles, pedestrians, and occasional cyclists who travel through her intersection, remaining focused on ensuring student safety.

D6mdThe family who nominated Abebe recalls how, “One day in early September, she saved an over-eager sixth grader from nearly being run over.” According to the student’s parent, “All of the traffic lights surrounding Kenmore were blinking yellow. The police department stationed a cruiser to stop traffic so that the crossing guard would be able to cross the children safely. My child, new to middle school and oblivious to her surroundings, stepped off the curb into oncoming traffic. Ms. Abebe physically lifted her out of the street and back onto the sidewalk. I saw the entire incident from two blocks away, and all I could think until Ms. Abebe got her back onto the sidewalk was ‘My child almost died on her first day walking to middle school.’ I am incredibly thankful.”

Abebe has been with the crossing guard unit since February 2015. She has been stationed at 3rd Street and S. Carlin Springs Road since she started. She also has a second crossing at Patrick Henry Elementary School. “We are very proud of Almaz for receiving this recognition,” said Kenmore Principal David McBride. “She makes students feel safe while crossing Carlin Springs Rd., and hers is the first smile they see as they come to school.”

APS Contributes to Record-Breaking 2016-17 Virginia Safe Routes to School Event Participation

APS has been recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program for leading the way in all four state-wide Safe Routes to School events in 2016-17 and for leading our region with the most all-time SRTS event participation! The four annual SRTS events include: Walk and Bike to School Day (October); Student Travel Tally Week (October-November); Crossing Guard Appreciation Week (February); Bike and Walk to School Day (May). There are three SRTS regions in Virginia (Coastal, Piedmont, and Blue Ridge).

2016-2017_SRTS_Event_ParthumbnailAPS schools topped the list of accolades for the Coastal Region in both state-wide categories of recognition. Ashlawn and Campbell Elementary Schools received Hall of Fame honors for most all-time event participation in the Coastal region, the only schools from our region to be recognized. Of the 17 schools recognized as the Coastal Region’s All-Stars of the Year for the most participation in 2016-17 SRTS events, 14 are from Arlington!

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Barcroft, Barrett, Glebe, Jamestown, Long Branch, McKinley, Nottingham, Oakridge, Randolph, and Tuckahoe

MIDDLE SCHOOLS: Jefferson, Kenmore, Swanson, and Williamsburg

APS is on track to receive SRTS Hall of Fame and All-Star honors for the 2017-18 school year as well, with all of our schools participating in Walk and Bike to School Day in October 2017 and Student Travel Tally Week in October-November 2017. APS’ 100% participation helped Virginia Safe Routes to School break previous annual state-wide records for each Fall 2017 event, with a total of 326 Virginia schools joining Walk and Bike to School Day 2017 and 245 Virginia schools participating in Student Travel Tally Week 2017.

Congratulations APS! Thanks for supporting active transportation and safe routes in Arlington!