I’ve been immersed in our latest progress reports for the regional network project, and it is so easy to get lost in the minutiae of editing. But when I stop and think back upon our efforts this year, I am proud of the work of everyone involved in our regional efforts.
In each of the three regions where we have full-time regional policy managerrs (RPMs), we have seen significant policy and funding achievements in 2012. All three regions (Greater Washington, DC, Northern California and Southern California) have worked with their respective metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the adoption of major regional policies. In Southern California as well as Northern California, the RPMs were successful in the first half of 2012 in ensuring that the regional transportation plan (RTPs) updates, which are revised every four years, included substantial new funding and improved policies for Safe Routes to School and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The Bay Area provided $20 million dollars for Safe Routes to School in all nine counties and adopted a requirement for Complete Streets policies if cities receive regional funding, and Southern California tripled the amount of active transportation funding in their regional transportation plan. In the Greater Washington, DC region, our RPM worked with the MPO to adopt a region-wide Complete Streets policy that will impact the built environment in many of the 22 jurisdictions in the region.
These major policy achievements set the stage for our work in the second half of 2012 where the RPMs have been active in the implementation process of these regional policies and deepening connections in the counties and cities. We are starting to see policy changes that result in improvements to the built environment in the regions. Within each region, the RPMs are fielding an increasing number of requests to present at dozens of meetings and conferences, to work on local policy efforts throughout each of the regions and to help build coalitions and connections at the local levels.
And so, as we enter the season when we begin to think about the year, I say “thank you” to the National Partnership staff and all of our partners who have been so instrumental to making gains for Safe Routes to School and active transportation, in general, at the regional level!