The number of Palo Alto students who bicycle or walk to school has risen steadily in the past decade, according to the PTA Council Traffic Safety Committee.
About 54 percent of elementary school kids now get to school by walking, bicycling or other alternative modes of transportation, compared to far fewer 10 years ago.
In high schools, the numbers are tracked by counts of bicycles in the bike racks.
Gunn's count this month was 633 (33 percent of students), up from 180 (11 percent) in 1999.
At Palo Alto High, this year's count was 582 (32 percent of students) up from 220 (15 percent) a decade ago. Advocates attribute the increase to education, better safety engineering, police enforcement of safety rules and encouragement from adults.
Next week, schools will observe "Walk and Roll" celebrations at campuses across the city.
At Barron Park Elementary, families will walk to school with the well-known donkeys, Pericles and Miner 49er, who live next to the neighborhood's Bol Park.
Escondido Elementary School dad Stefan Rosner will pedal with two of his kids to school in his unusual "human-powered minivan," a tandem bicycle with a child's seat.
"Give your child an out-of-car experience," school board member Melissa Baten Caswell said this week. "Enjoy it. Use this time to teach your child safety skills and model a healthy, active lifestyle."
A generation of students now has gone through bicycle-safety education, said Penny Ellson, chair of the PTA Council Traffic Safety Committee.
"It's exciting because the kids who have been through the whole program now are hitting the high schools. These kids get it. They have the skills and understand the importance of doing this," she said.
Behind the "Walk and Roll" celebrations are a cadre of parents deadly serious about making local streets friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians.
Ellson, formerly in teaching and marketing communications, got involved even before her daughter reached elementary school, after her husband was hit twice by cars while bicycling on school routes.
"We are both walking, bicycling people, big believers in people moving around the community on their feet. We said, 'We've got to fix this.'"
Ellson got involved in efforts to re-stripe the intersection of East Charleston Road and Nelson Drive, which she said have been successful.
"You don't see drivers blowing through like they used to. It's brought traffic down to the posted speed limit. When the striping changes as you approach an intersection, it triggers drivers to pay attention."
As chair of the PTA traffic group, Ellson is part of Safe Routes to School, a partnership among the city, the school district and the PTA, which works with police and city planners to improve safety.
"Every time there's a crash on a school route the team gets together and says, 'What happened? Was the cyclist at fault? Is this an educational opportunity for the community? Does the road need to be re-engineered here? Does the signal not operate optimally?'
"We also talk to the police and ask if we have a speeding problem in the area.
"The important thing is to help people understand what they need to do right to get there safely," she said.