Photo by Grace Inez Adams

Car-free commuters: Franklin Elementary School students participated in the District-wide “Bike it! Walk it! Bus it!” to school event last Friday. The week-long initiative, coordinated by SMMUSD Sustainability Manager Austin Toyama and the City of Santa Monica, is a friendly, bi-annual competition meant to encourage students and their families to embrace sustainable, environmentally-friendly transit methods. Toyama said schools chose a day during the week to record the number of students who took non-car forms of transportation to school and submitted their numbers for a chance to win an ice cream party. He said that participation seemed to be especially high this year, noting it was the first time ice cream has been used as an incentive. Franklin Elementary parents Susanne Blossom and Lee Garrun said they were “inspired and thrilled” by the turnout and hoped to implement “car-free Fridays” on a weekly basis going forward. Results of the competition are expected to be announced this week.