“We tend to build schools out in the periphery in undeveloped areas with large parking lots because the land costs are cheaper,” says Streetsblog reporter Angie Schmitt. But that means racking up the costs and carbon emissions of transporting kids to heck ’n’ gone.
The Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, stays old-school by keeping its education buildings centrally located as the town has grows. As a result, Lakewood has never needed a single school bus — the 5,800 kids can easily walk or bike to its seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school.
As city planner Bryce Sylvester says in the above video, most kids live within a mile or two from their school. And with its population contained in 5.5 square miles, Lakewood is on the list of the densest U.S. cities.
In addition to the climate and health benefits, parents and school staff say walking or biking to school helps kids develop emotionally and socially. They get to hang out with friends and get their energy out by the time they need to listen. Oh yeah, and the school system gets to use about $1 million on education, rather than transportation! Pretty sweet all around.