December 2013

Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #94: December 2013

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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To receive future issues of E-News, email info@saferoutespartnership.org.

In this issue:

1. How a School in Virginia Got Full Participation in a Walking School Bus and Saved on Busing Costs
2. Implementing MAP-21 – the New Transportation Law
3. Build Your Own Safe Routes to School District Policy With This New Interactive Tool
4. Our Next Webinar and Your Webinar Wish List
5. Pennsylvania Passes $2.4 Million Active Transportation Package
6. New Resources for Shared Use, MAP-21 and Using Safe Routes to School to Combat the Threat of Violence
7. State and Regional Network Update
8. Highlighted Blogs
9. Featured State - Minnesota


1. How a School in Virginia Got Full Participation in a Walking School Bus and Saved on Busing Costs

At Keister Elementary in VA, home-school liaison, Sonny Rodriguez’s job is to build bridges between the school and communities surrounding the school, especially among Spanish-speaking families. When the school first floated the idea of replacing an entire school bus with a walking school bus at a nearby housing complex each Friday, some families were skeptical. So Sonny visited each of the families at their home, explaining what a walking school bus was and reassuring parents that their kids would be supervised along the way. Thanks to this personal outreach, Keister Elementary is now able to replace an entire school bus with a walking school bus every Friday. Read more about Keister Elementary’s Safe Routes to School successes on our blog.


2. Implementing MAP-21 – the New Transportation Law

Ask Congress to help end the rising rates of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities

In the coming weeks, the US Department of Transportation is expected to release its draft safety performance measure. The big question on our minds is: will it include any provisions specific to bicycle and pedestrian safety, which has seen unacceptable increases in fatalities? Without a safety performance measure, states won’t be held accountable for bicycle and pedestrian deaths, and will likely continue to spend next to nothing of their safety dollars on bicycle and pedestrian safety. Sens. Merkley (D-OR), Ayotte (R-NH) and Schatz (D-HI) and Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Coble (R-NC), DeFazio (D-OR) and McCaul (R-TX) have introduced legislation to require USDOT to set a performance measure on bicycle and pedestrian safety.  Learn more about this issue in our latest federal blog, and contact your members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor these bills.
 
Also, our latest quarterly State of the States report shows that many states are starting to reach the end of their available Safe Routes to School funds, and are shifting to the Transportation Alternatives program. States awarded $13 million and obligated $26 million in federal Safe Routes to School funds in final quarter of fiscal year 2013.


3. Build Your Own Safe Routes to School District Policy With This New Interactive Tool

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership and ChangeLab Solutions recently released an interactive Safe Routes to School Policy Workbook tool that can be utilized by school boards and advocates to customize a Safe Routes to School district policy.
 
This tool walks the user through a series of policy options to help build a customized Safe Routes to School policy for school districts, which they can then download for the school board to adopt. It is designed to help school board members, administrators, families of students, and community members create and implement policies that support active transportation and Safe Routes to School programs. Build your own district policy here.


4. Our Next Webinar and Your Webinar Wish List

Our monthly technical assistance webinar series features expert speakers, a chat feature for participants, and archived downloadable post-webinar recordings. Join us for our next webinar:
 
Liability 201
January 16th, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern - Register here
 
Join our experts in Safe Routes to School and Liability for a discussion around the more nuanced issues related to walking school buses, bike trains, remote drop off and more!

Share your webinar wish list: Think about where the Safe Routes to School movement could use more support, resources, and tell us which topics you'd like us to cover in a webinar in 2014.


5. Pennsylvania Passes $2.4 Million Active Transportation Package

Good news from Pennsylvania: the state just passed a nearly $2.4 million dollar bill that PennDot Secretary Barry Schoch is calling “biggest step forward for the bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation in the history of Pennsylvania.” According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the bill:

  • Creates a multi-modal fund that grows from $30 to $144 million over a 5-year period, to which bicycle and pedestrian projects can apply for funding;
  • Sets an annual minimum of $2 million of that fund to be spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities;
  • Makes it easier to use state transportation money for pedestrian safety projects, streetscaping & lighting;
  • Explicitly states that Pennsylvania's comprehensive transportation system includes Pennsylvania's "numerous bicycle and pedestrian facilities," which will make it easier for bicycle/pedestrian projects to compete for highway funds.

Congratulations to our national partner affiliates, Walk and Ride PA, Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, American Heart Association, and the coalition that worked on this effort.


6. New Resources for Shared Use, MAP-21 and Using Safe Routes to School to Combat the Threat of Violence

Are you working to advance shared use or street scale policies in your community? Be sure to take advantage of the National Partnership’s new resources to help make your work more effective.

In the area of shared use, new resources include Shared Use: Increasing Access to Physical Activity Opportunities (also translated into Spanish), and resources designed specifically for working with principalsschool boards, and superintendents. Our new street scale resources includeUsing the Transportation Alternatives Program of MAP-21 to Impact Your Local Community and Using Safe Routes to School to Combat the Threat of Violence.

If you missed our recent webinars on shared use and using MAP-21 to impact your local community, you can view the recordings here.


7. State and Regional Network Update

State Network Update
At this year’s Southern Obesity Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, two members of the State Network project and one member of the Technical Assistance team hosted a panel that discussed the value of shared use agreements in the fight against childhood obesity. Discussion topics included health disparities in disadvantaged communities and how shared use agreements could be used to address those disparities; the mapping of shared use agreements in Tennessee and how park and recreation departments could play an important role in opening more spaces to free play and safe physical activity; and the role that communities of faith can play in promoting health among the broader community that they share by making green spaces and facilities available for community use.  

Regional Network Update
In November, the San Bernardino Association of Governments board adopted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Southern California Association of Governments. The MOU commits the two agencies to work together on projects related to the implementation of the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. The MOU is voluntary, but it establishes a commitment to planning projects that will transform San Bernardino County into a more walkable and bikeable place, improve the public health outcomes of its residents and help increase the number of children walking and bicycling to school.Read more.


8. Highlighted Blogs

The Role of Fun in Making Exercise a Sustainable Habit (Jane Ward)
 
Building Momentum for Safe Routes to School in Greater Washington, DC (Christine Green)


9. Featured State - Minnesota

In 2013, Minnesota DOT granted over $4 million to 44 applicants from around the state. The fiscal year report on Safe Routes to School can be viewed here. Since 2005, Minnesota has announced a total of $16,282,342 and obligated a total of $13,232,726. Minnesota is in the process of reviewing grant applications for Safe Routes to School funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), and will announce grant recipients on April 15, 2014.

 

For more information, contact:

Margaux Mennesson, Communications Manager
Safe Routes to School National Partnership
margaux@saferoutespartnership.org
www.saferoutespartnership.org