Minneapolis is Site for 3rd Safe Routes to School National Conference

5-28-10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2010

Minneapolis is Site for 3rd Safe Routes to School National Conference

The City of Minneapolis, Minnesota was chosen through a competitive application process as the location for the 3rd Safe Routes to School National Conference in 2011. The conference site was announced today by the National Center for Safe Routes to School and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership at the Pro Walk / Pro Bike 2010 Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from schools, and it can also play a critical role in providing more physical activity and enhancing traffic safety.

The conference will take place August 16-18, 2011 and is being hosted by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The 2nd Safe Routes to School National Conference, held in Portland, Oregon in August 2009, had more than 500 participants in attendance and is considered to have been a resounding success.

“We are excited that both a health plan and transportation agency will be co-hosting the Safe Routes to School National Conference in 2011,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Safe Routes to School is a multi-faceted program and having experts from both of these fields plan and develop the program will ensure a valuable experience for attendees.”

"The 3rd Safe Routes to School National Conference is going to be a place to receive inspirational ideas and examples to help get reenergized,” said Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

“Collaboration and relationships are key to continued progress in reaching our shared goal of providing children with safe routes to school. We are thrilled to continue working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and others to bring national leaders together in this important effort,” said Marc Manley, M.D., chief prevention officer for Blue Cross. “Together, we can make a difference in childhood obesity and create a healthier generation.”

The Safe Routes to School National Conference provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations interested in and involved with SRTS to network, engage in educational opportunities and form partnerships to enhance their work with SRTS. Up to 700 participants can be accommodated to participate in the conference in Minneapolis. Visit www.saferoutesconference.org now to sign up for conference e-mail updates.

For more information on the SRTS conference, please contact Caroline Dickson at the National Center for Safe Routes to School, (919) 962-5835 or dickson@hsrc.unc.edu, or Margo Pedroso at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, (301) 292-1043 or margo@saferoutespartnership.org.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.7 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

About the National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for U.S. Walk to School Day and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. The National Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.

About the Safe Routes to School National Partnership
Launched in August 2005, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a fast-growing network of hundreds of organizations, government agencies and professional groups working to set goals, share best practices, secure funding and provide educational materials to agencies that implement Safe Routes to School programs. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership advocates for safe walking and bicycling to and from schools to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities. For more information, please visit www.saferoutespartnership.org.

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