Is It Possible? Children Still Walk to School in Loudoun?

According to Leesburg2Day, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is looking for volunteers to act as crossing guards for the more than 11,000 children in the county who walk to school.

As Becky Dale asks in this morning’s round-up of Virginia transportation/land use clips — 11,000 walk to school? Do you suppose that’s typo?

My perception of Loudoun, based on occasional drive-throughs, is that the county is dominated by low-density suburban development or extremely low-density rural settlement patterns, with the town of Leesburg and a few hamlets tossed in. Could such development patterns support 11,000 children walking to school? I, like Becky, am astounded.

The fact that 11,000 children would walk to school in the pedesterian-inhospitable environs of Loudoun County suggests to me that there is a strong demand among families to have their children walk to school. County officials, not just in Loudoun but across Virginia, should pay greater heed to locating schools within walking distance of residential areas, plan for sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly features, and design the schools so that children don’t have to traverse acres of empty fields and parking lots to reach their classrooms.

Communities want schools that are integrated into the fabric of the neighborhood, not built upon some distant, isolated plot of land, donated perhaps by a developer, that is accessible only by car or school bus.

(P.S. I am way overdue in giving Becky a plug for the daily round-up she provides of online newspaper articles about transportation and land use in Virginia. I couldn’t publish this blog without it. If you would like to be added to her e-mail distribution list, contact her at

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One response to “Is It Possible? Children Still Walk to School in Loudoun?”

  1. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    What wonderful news about so many children walking to school in Loudoun. I never, ever would have guessed.

    And I’m right there with you, Ray. I’m convinced that high schools sizes are determined by the size of the population required to have a decent likelihood of getting together a football team.

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