L.A. Unified School Board Member Kelly Gonez talks to students about the importance of using designated Safe Routes on Walk to School Day at Panorama City Elementary School. 

School Board Member Kelly Gonez walked students to Pannorama City Elementary School on Wednesday as part of an effort to help build awareness for the need for walkable communities and is an international effort organized by the nonprofit organization Partnership for a Walkable America.  

“I was so proud to see our students and families enthusiastically participate in Walk to School Day across our District” said Gonez. “The safety of our students is our number one priority. Our partnership with the City of Los Angeles and the implementation of the Safe Routes to School initiative is an example of how collaboration benefits the communities we serve.”  Gonez said she also saw this effort as a chance to practice healthy habits and bring neighborhoods together.  

In Northridge,a large group walked a half mile together from the parking lot of the Target Store on Balboa to Holmes Middle School.· School Board Member Scott Schmerelson, School Police Chief Steven Zipperman and Deputy City Attorney Jackie Lawson walked with more than 200 students who carried banners and posters they made for the event.  

Other school board members throughout L.A. walked with students at their respective schools.  While the health benefits of walking are among the good reasons to walk to school, it is also good for the environment and decreases street congestion.  At the same time,safety remains a core  issue that was discussed especially at Judith Baca Academy where a student was struck by a car while walking to school.