Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #79: August 2012
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership), which is leading the national movement for Safe Routes to School by coordinating and energizing more than 600 organizations, government agencies, schools and professional groups. Our mission is to advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities.
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In this issue:
1. Implementing MAP-21 – the New Transportation Law
Understanding MAP-21 and gearing up to maximize funding for Safe Routes to School
During the past month, we have been working closely with other national bicycling and walking groups to develop an action plan for the implementation of the new transportation law, MAP-21. We also issued new state-by-state funding charts so you can see exactly how much funding your state will get under Transportation Alternatives, how it will be divided up among metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs)in your state and how much funding remains to be awarded and obligated from the existing Safe Routes to School program from the prior law, SAFETEA-LU.
We have also issued a call to action for states to fully fund, staff and implement the new Transportation Alternatives program and to fully spend the funds remaining from Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails. And, this month, we will release a suite of materials to help advocates appeal to state departments of transportation to take full advantage of Transportation Alternatives. Please join us for two webinars this month on MAP-21, one on the law’s basics (August 13) and the other on Safe Routes to School (August 27).
Also, check out our director, Deb Hubsmith’s, blog for a top 10 list for how Safe Routes to School can survive and thrive under MAP-21.
2. CDC Releases New Vital Signs Report on Walking
Six in 10 adults now get physically active by walking
Sixty-two percent of adults say they walked for at least once for 10 minutes or more in 2010, compared to 56 percent in 2005, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, less than half (48 percent) of all adults get enough physical activity to improve their health, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey. The Vital Signs report notes that increases in walking were seen in nearly all groups surveyed. Walkers were defined as those who walked for at least one session of 10 minutes or more for transportation, fun or exercise. In the West, roughly 68 percent of people walk, more than any other region in the country. People living in the South had the largest increase in the percentage of people who walk, up by nearly eight percentage points from about 49 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2010. + Read more
3. National Partnership Releases CPPW Report
Communities Putting Prevention to Work: Advancing Safe Routes to School at the County Level
In 2009, 50 communities across the country were selected to participate in Communities Putting Prevention to Work , a federal stimulus-funded project that worked at the county-level to increase opportunities for healthy eating and active living through policy, systems and environmental changes. Many of these communities adopted Safe Routes to School as an overall strategy to increase physical activity and spent the duration of the project pursuing opportunities to institutionalize policies, systems and environmental changes that would support walking and bicycling to school and in daily life. The efforts and successes of five of these communities are highlighted in this report published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
4. Final Reminder to Sign Up for Our Free Annual Meeting
September 10 from 1-5pm, in conjunction with Pro Walk Pro Bike in Long Beach
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s free 2012 Annual Meeting is taking place Monday, September 10 from 1-5pm in conjunction with the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference in Long Beach, CA. We invite you to come and learn how to sustain your Safe Routes to School program with ideas for securing new funding at the state, regional and local levels, get a timely federal update and attend one of our ever-popular breakout groups. There will also be ample time to network with fellow Safe Routes to School enthusiasts at both the Annual Meeting and our Safe Routes Social taking place immediately after from 5-6pm. You won't want to miss either of these two great (and free) events! Register for the Annual Meeting at the same time that you register for the Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference. If you are interested in attending just the National Partnership’s Annual Meeting, walk-in registration will be available or you can email Brooke Driesse to be added to the list. +Read more
5. State Network Project News
My how you’ve grown
Several blog posts have been written about how the state network project is doing. The size and influence of the network and its partners continues to grow and develop nicely. The Mississippi network, for example, is putting together a group of organizations that are focusing on serving lower-income communities in Jackson. The goal is to increase safety for bicyclists and walkers and to reduce crime. Safe Routes to School can improve a neighborhood’s built environment and allow kids to do what kids love to do.
We are also finding joint-use agreements are flourishing and state legislatures are passing laws to address liability concerns schools frequently have. Working with our partners, we are getting the word out that Mississippi and Tennessee recently passed such laws, and promoting the benefits of joint use agreement for increased physical activity. There are lots more examples of how the networks are developing. Want to join the family? Contact the National Partnership’s advocacy organizer in your state. +Read more
6. Regional Network Project News
From Southern California to Atlanta
MAP-21 has garnered much attention recently. The federal transportation bill’s impact on funding for bicycling and walking, and particularly Safe Routes to School, is worthy of our attention, but it is important to remember that active transportation is not entirely dependent on federal funding. In addition, many future decisions under MAP-21 will be made by regional agencies so this will be an area of growth nationwide. Here are two examples of regional work:
In Southern California, both the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) have taken significant leaps in their planning and funding of active transportation which will be good models for the country. Read more here.
In Georgia, we highlighted a July 31 referendum on a sales tax that would have benefited regional transportation projects including the proposed Beltline project that is planned to circle Atlanta. That referendum was soundly defeated, and now state and regional decision-makers are thinking about other alternatives to fund their transportation system. We’ll continue to advocate that active transportation and Safe Routes to School be considered.
7. Hawaii Creates New Safe Routes to School Funds
Legislation gives traffic fine money directly to counties to spend
Hawaii, America's tropical paradise, has great Safe Routes to School supporters and champions. Among them is a passionate and high energy advocate, Bev Brody, who is the island coordinator for Get Fit Kauai. Bev attended the Safe Routes to School National Partnership's Annual Meeting in the summer of 2011 and learned about traffic fines as a way to fund Safe Routes to School. Inspired by this idea, Bev went back home, got some input from our director, Deb Hubsmith, talked with Hawaii State Representative Derek Kawakami, proposed the fines idea to him and together they wrote draft legislation that would bring traffic fine revenue directly to Hawaii's counties that would fund Safe Routes to School programs modeled after the outgoing federal program. This bill was a way to guarantee permanent Safe Routes to School funds for Hawaii, and the funds go directly to the counties. The new bill, HB 2626, was signed by Hawaii’s governor last month! Come hear more about this new legislation on a panel at our Annual Meeting on September 10 from 1-5pm in Long Beach and read more here.
8. National Partnership Has Grown to More Than 600 Partner Affiliates
Embracing strength in numbers
We are so excited to have surpassed the 600 marker in partner affiliates; halfway through the year we are at more than 620 national (and international), state and local partners. We couldn’t do it without all of you. Not only is there strength in numbers, but the really cool stuff is how our partners engage with us and make our Safe Routes to School movement stronger. To read more about our newest partners and for specific examples of how our partner affiliates engage with us, click here. Also, we aren’t done growing yet. If you aren’t a partner affiliate, join today and urge other jurisdictions and organizations to join too! It’s free.
9. Highlighted Blogs
Check out some recent blogs from National Partnership staff
Tallying the Benefits of Safe Routes to School in North Carolina
The Value of Prevention
10. Featured States
Highlighting Montana and Tennessee
Montana Safe Routes to School continues to improve safety and healthy options for children across Montana. In March of 2012, Montana Safe Routes to School announced $928,406 in Safe Routes to School awards for state fiscal year 2013, which began July 1, 2012. Six communities were awarded infrastructure funding for projects ranging from $14,000 for signing and crossing improvements to $114,386 for a pathway in eastern Montana. The infrastructure projects were awarded in communities that were able to leverage transportation enhancement money with Safe Routes to School funding. Most of these projects are in small rural communities where improvements like this will make walking and bicycling to safer and more convenient for the students in these on their journeys to school and home. +Read more
In January of 2012, Tennessee announced Safe Routes to School funding totaling $1.6 for ten municipalities in Tennessee. The majority of the funds will be used for schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks and signs. Many of the grant recipients will install flashing beacons and traffic control devices to allow for a safe environment around the schools. Funds will also be used to provide educational programs focused on bicycle and pedestrian safety and promotional activities to encourage walking and bicycling as a safe and healthy alternative. The projects in many of the communities will support the commitment to build, manage and maintain an effective and safe non-motorized transportation program. +Read more
Safe Routes to School News throughout the Country
Detroit, MI: Revitalization Plan Includes Safe Routes to School
New York: Funding Cycle Open for Safe Routes to School Until October 5
Waterloo, IA: Excited about Their New, Healthy Sidewalks
Help Grow the National Partnership!
Joining the National Partnership is free. Please encourage other organizations, schools, businesses, and government agencies to join the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a network of more than 600 organizations and agencies.
Funding for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has been generously provided by the Bikes Belong Coalition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SRAM Cycling Fund, individuals and partner affiliates.
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