More plans for Milan kids

City Hall announces initiatives

Milan city administration this week announced two further measures for schoolchildren, to add to the initiatives of “Bianca Inverno” which is already keeping them busy and amused during the Christmas break.

Pedibus is a project to encourage primary school kids and their parents to go to school on foot, leaving the car in the garage and make new friends. In only two years since it was launched Pedibus has spread across the city to involve 680 children in 31 primary schools, off to school along 78 routes checked out by the municipal police force. And another 15 schools are already planning to inaugurate more routes.

Education councillor Francesco Cappelli is proud of the result the scheme has obtained. It’s not just good for reducing traffic and getting people out to walk, he says: “It’s promoting solidarity between parents and also between kids of different age-groups, and it’s helping them get to know their part of town and how to move around with respect for road safety rules.”

In a recent survey of participating parents, he added, 34 per cent responded that Pedibus helps socialise, 43 per cent that it saves time, 20 per cent that it helps children feel bigger and more independent, 27 per cent that it teaches them how to integrate with traffic, and 11 per cent that it helps reduce traffic on the roads.

The comune website offers a downloadable map of the lines already operative (look for the link “Mappa Pedibus” in the right-hand column).

On a different note, Milan’s non-profit Fondazione Ambienta NGO has promoted an iniative to teach the kids – and their families – respect for the environment and how to contribute to the well-being of the planet. Copies of a manual on environmental education are being sent to all 38,000 children in classes III, IV and V of the city’s primary schools.

Tondo come il Mondo, now in its fifth edition, explains environmentally correct behaviour for every day, in school, in the open air and at home, in texts and pictures produced specifically for kids in the primary school age-group. It also contains a message from Milan mayor Giuliano Pisapia.