Students attending Madison Avenue elementary campuses can be part of a global movement on Oct. 4.

Wednesday is International Walk to School Day, and Madison Avenue Elementary and Madison Avenue Upper Elementary students can join with others from more than 40 countries to walk and bike to class.

Nearly 4 million people will participate around the world, with hundreds of MAE and MAUE students adding to that total.

This year marks the 12th annual Walk to School Day in Madison. Any student who attends either of the Madison Avenue campuses are invited to meet at Stonegate or Trace Vineyard/Oak Hollow to join the group walks. Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler will walk with students from Stonegate and Alderman Pat Peeler will walk with students from Trace Vineyard and Oak Hollow. Students will meet at the entrances to the subdivisions by 6:50 a.m., with the walks starting at 7 a.m.

“I look forward to this event each and every year. What a wonderful way to start the day! I get to join my friends who attend the Madison Avenue schools and their parents and grandparents for an early morning walk from Stonegate subdivision and other surrounding neighborhoods,” Butler said.

Students will receive Safe Routes eraser bracelets and water when they arrive on the campuses.

In 2007 the city received a $564,000 Safe Routes to School grant that led to the sidewalks, multi-use trails and traffic calming devices along the way and bike racks that students now use each school day.

Madison is preparing to continue the Safe Routes to School multi-use trail northward, allowing students living in Cross Creek and Hoy Farms subdivisions to walk and bike safely to campus. The project should be complete in spring 2018.

The 10-foot wide path will be built on the west side of Rice Road and continue on Tisdale Road to the entrance of Cross Creek. Painted crosswalks and pedestrian push buttons for the traffic signal at the Rice and Hoy road intersection are also included in the project. The city received a $475,000 Transportation Alternatives Program grant for the project.

“Madison has been able to make walking and biking to school safer, easier and more enjoyable due to our Safe Routes to School program,” Butler said. “With the upcoming construction of additional sidewalks from Cross Creek Subdivision to Madison Avenue, the City will be providing even more students with a safe walking and biking route.”

The multi-use trail system is an integral part of Madison’s pedestrian and bicycle plan. The plans will eventually serve the entire city by providing multi-use trails and sidewalks to connect schools, the library, neighborhoods and commercial districts.

International Walk to School Day has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school each October.

 For years, Nell Tharp, a Stonegate resident, was a champion of the city’s participation in International Walk to School Day. Tharp, who died in 2015, was honored at last year’s day with a plaque at the entrance to Stonegate, recognizing her contributions to the city’s Safe Routes to Schools program.