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

Nominations are OPEN for Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guard 2018-19

2019_CGAD_Logo_for_webEvery February as part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, the Virginia Department of Transportation/Safe Routes to School recognizes Virginia’s Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of the year. Nominations are now open for this year’s honors.

To recognize our hard-working APS crossing guards as part of Crossing Guard Appreciation Week 2019, APS and Virginia Safe Routes to School encourage elementary and middle schools — students, families and staff — to nominate your school Crossing Guard(s) as Virginia’s Most Outstanding!

Deadline for nominations is FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2019.


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!



APS Safe Routes

County Readies Update of Cycling Infrastructure Plans, Sketching Out Dozens of Potential Improvements
Published December 11, 18 2:40PM