Since partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation’s SchoolPool program this year, Limestone Creek Elementary School has worked to reduce traffic congestion, pedestrian hazards and environmental impacts around the school.
On Feb. 21, the school held its first CoolPool day in an effort to encourage students to bike, walk, ride the bus or carpool to school.
The event was organized by parent Sarah McCain and the school’s Green Team. The group, started last year, strives to ensure that every activity, lesson and special event on campus is environmentally conscious.
“I came up with the Cool Pool idea,” said McCain, a past president of Limestone Creek’s Parent Teacher Organization. “We’ve been working with SchoolPool this year, and they really encourage schools to get more families carpooling, biking and walking to school.”
On an average morning at Limestone Creek, 370 of the school’s 900 students arrive by car, McCain said. Another eight to 10 ride their bikes.
On CoolPool day, 315 students arrived by car — a reduction of 15 percent in traffic — and another 30 rode their bikes to school.
A week later, car traffic remains 10 percent lower than earlier in the school year, and students continue to ride their bikes in higher numbers than before.
“We’re still up there,” McCain said. “Our goal is, by the end of the year, to still be at 10 percent traffic reduction. It’s been awesome in the morning seeing all the bikers, because it’s still going strong.”
Limestone Creek is one of two Jupiter elementary schools — Jerry Thomas Elementary is the other — participating in the FDOT’s SchoolPool program, which is available to schools in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties.
Jerry Thomas Elementary recently added a carpool lane, which has helped reduce traffic congestion at the school. The school also has seen a large number of bikers and walkers leaving campus, teacher April Spatara said.
“We hope to increase the number of families participating,” she said.
For information, visit www.goschoolpool.com.