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Letter to the editor: Garofalo shows support for safe routes to school

To the editor,

I want to thank State Representative Pat Garofalo for his willingness to meet with his constituents to learn of their interests and priorities prior to the start of the legislative session.

Recently, I and several other residents from the region sat down with him and discussed making the safety of kids who walk and bike to school a priority. Among the concerns we expressed was the difficulty students have in crossing two well-traveled thoroughfares that separate local neighborhoods from the schools within their boundaries. Both situations are deemed so unsafe by parents that all students are either bussed or given rides to school.

A second area of interest was the need to tie existing recreational paths together to make it easier for families on bikes and foot to move safely and conveniently throughout our communities.

Representative Garofalo agreed with our concerns and interests. He is the author of legislation to fund a Minnesota Safe Routes to School program, which will be used to provide grants to cities and schools to create better street crossings, build sidewalks and improve trails for the purpose of making it easier and safer for kids to walk and bike to school. The funding proposal is supported by Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as Governor Dayton.

Not only is Representative Garofalo a strong supporter of funding Safe Routes to School, he said he is committed to recruiting other legislators to support it as well. Helping to assure the safety of students who want to walk and bike to school should be a priority for all of us because those who do so are healthier and better prepared for a day of learning. State Representative Garofalo recognizes that fact and he should be applauded for his support and willingness to making that safety a reality.

Jack Olwell,


Jack Olwell is a phy ed teacher at North Trail Elementary School