A great way to encourage independence and still provide guidance for your child is to form a Walking School Bus in your neighborhood.
The Walking School Bus is a program in which a group of children walk to and from school under adult supervision. The Walking School Bus concept was developed to enable children to have a safe, consistent system to walk to school on a regular basis, even when traffic, weather, and crime are concerns.
Parents can take turns walking with the students and reinforcing safe habits.
You can also check out this website: http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/