Beat the Street ran in Gdansk, Poland from mid-September to mid-October with the aim of getting entire families, schools and neighbourhoods walking and cycling instead of using the car, mainly for short distance trips.
Beat the Street in Gdansk is part of an innovative EU — funded project called SWITCH. SWITCH focuses on life changing moments when people transfer schools; move home; or receive medical advice to increase their physical activity. Switch campaigns target willing people and provide personalised travel plans to support an interest in walking and cycling more.
Thirty-two Beat Boxes were placed around the Piecki-Migowo and Kokoszki districts of Gdansk, Poland. The three primary schools in Gdansk travelled 171 383.5 the equivalent of 4.3 times round the world… all in just 30 days. Out of 4,269 active participants 53.8% were schoolchildren and 46.2% adults — teachers and parents. Statistically they all made 5,700 km of active travels per day and an average of 40 km by each active participant. If such a distance would be made by car, the air in Gdansk would get an additional dose of ok.46 450 kg of CO2, which is as much as 25,340 trees are able to absorb in 30 days. To sum up the Polish team who delivered the project said the SWITCH campaign was a great victory at every step.
As one of the parents stated “the whole district just went crazy”. Kids do not want any more to spend hours in front of their PC, dads queue in front of the boxes on their evening cycling trips, pupils ask physical activity teachers to organize lesson’s long jogging and takes their mothers for longer cycling way back home. Active families somehow became an integral part of the everyday landscape of Piecki-Migowo and Kokoszki districts.
All schools from beginning to end were supported in their efforts and special initiatives. They organized special weekend and evening walks, healthy diet and lifestyle days and group jogging PE lessons. The atmosphere was great and the rivalry very fierce, but in the end all schools were invited on the podium.