If you live in Santa Rosa, you know which days schools are in session. You can tell by the traffic congestion.

Once upon a time, kids walked or rode their bikes to school. Now – for a variety of reasons that could be the subject of a longer conversation – parents choose to use the family car (or cars).

The New York Times today reports about an Italian town where kids use the “foot-bus,” which is a bus route with no bus. Adults dressed in yellow vests follow the route, gathering children for the walk to school. The Times reported that similar experiments are under way in other countries, in Boulder, Colorado, and in Marin County. Communities are finding ways to encourage students to walk or to ride their bikes.

The objective, of course, is to reduce traffic congestion, energy consumption, the emission of greenhouse gases and the incidence of childhood obesity.

In Sonoma County, we talk a lot about protecting the environment, building walkable communities and burnishing our reputation as a bicycle mecca, but our talk doesn’t always lead to real-life solutions.

If you think your community ought to do more to promote travel by means the other than a gasoline-driven automobile, you can read the New York Times story by clicking here.