February 2007

Safe Routes to School E-News

Issue #14: February 2007

Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a growing network of more than 250 non-profit organizations, government agencies and professional groups that are working to set goals, share best practices, secure funding, and provide detailed policy input to implementing agencies for advancing the Safe Routes to School national movement.

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

In this issue:

1. SRTS National Partnership Hires New Staff
Robert Ping is State Network Manager; Kathy Gutowsky is Program Associate

2. Meeting Notes: Diverse Communities National Conference Calls
Urban, Rural and Students with Disabilities Meeting Notes

3. National Bike Summit Features Safe Routes to School
Register today: http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikeadvocacy/summit.php

4. EPA: School Siting Impacts Walking and Bicycling
EPA resources: http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikeadvocacy/summit.php

5. NHTSA and STIPDA offer mini-grants for SRTS
Letters of intent are due March 15, 2007, www.stipda.org

6. California’s AB 57 Would Extend State Funding for SRTS
Bill sponsored by Assembly member Nell Soto (original SRTS author)

7. Advocacy Groups Kick-Off Illinois’ SRTS Program
Trainings taking place throughout the state

8. Arizona SRTS Program Fields First Applications
$400,000 will be programmed for planning grants

9. ALRC Accepting Applications for City SRTS Pilot Program
Applications due March 7, 2007

10. Open Position: FHWA Bike/Ped Program Manager
Salary: $93,822 - $143,471; three step on-line application process


1. SRTS National Partnership Hires New Staff
Robert Ping is State Network Manager; Kathy Gutowsky is Program Associate

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, hosted by the Bikes Belong Foundation has hired two new staff members-Robert Ping as state network manager and Kathy Gutowsky as program associate. With funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bikes Belong Coalition, Ping and Gutowsky will join the Partnership in advancing Safe Routes to School (SRTS), a $612-million federal program designed to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for U.S. children to walk and bicycle to and from schools.

As the state network manager, Ping will establish SRTS networks in 10 states to leverage resources and maximize SRTS federal funding by linking leaders associated with health, education, smart growth, youth, and bicycle/pedestrian issues. His efforts will be focused on creating successful programs in states that have the greatest needs, and ensuring that statewide policy initiatives are developed to remove barriers associated with walking and bicycling to school.

As program associate for the SRTS National Partnership, Gutowsky will provide program, communications, and administrative support for the Partnership. In that role, Gutowsky will develop the Partnership’s information database, produce written and electronic materials, conduct research on SRTS issues, and manage and maintain the Partnership’s new website that will serve all 50 states.

Read the press release, including brief biographies for Ping and Gutowsky.


2. Meeting Notes: Diverse Communities National Conference Calls
Urban, Rural and Students with Disabilities Meeting Notes

In January 2007, more than 100 people participated in three national conference calls to collect information about Safe Routes to School programs serving urban areas, rural regions, and students with disabilities. Each of the 90 minute teleconferences identified background information, existing resources, gaps in resources, and next steps.

Please scroll to the bottom of the Diverse Communities Committee page to access meeting notes the three calls.


3. National Bike Summit Features Safe Routes to School
Register for the March 14-16, 2007 National Bike Summit today!

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has been spreading the word about Safe Routes to School by participating in a number of national conferences. On March 14, we will present our new state network project and SRTS in diverse communities at the National Bike Summit (organized by the League of American Bicyclists) in Washington D.C.

Check out the 2007 Summit schedule.


4. EPA: School Siting Impacts Walking and Bicycling
Useful EPA Smart Growth and Schools resources

Recent trends in school development and construction are making it harder for kids to find safe routes to walk and bike to schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of schools in the United States decreased from 262,000 in 1930 to 91,000 today, while the student population over the same time has risen from 28 million to 53.5 million. This has resulted in larger schools on bigger sites that are increasingly located further away from the neighborhoods and towns they serve.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a survey in 2004 asking parents of children aged 5-18 what barriers prevented their child from walking to school. The most commonly reported barrier was distance to school (61.5%), followed by traffic-related danger (30.4%), then weather (18.6%). The relevance of this information to the Safe Routes to School movement is clear-schools that are far away discourage walking and biking to school.

During the next twenty years, thousands of schools will be built or renovated across the country. Decisions about the location, construction, and renovation of these schools will have important implications for how kids get to and from school. To find out more about this and other issues related to school siting, check out the EPA’s Smart Growth and Schools.


5. NHTSA and STIPDA offer mini-grants for SRTS
Letters of intent due to STIPDA March 15, 2007.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association (STIPDA) the funds to administer a mini-grant program designed to engage the public health community in Safe Routes to Schools. The mini-grants will assist public health professionals in:

  • developing and implementing a successful SRTS program for their community;
  • improving collaboration and coordination between the various stakeholders (public health, transportation, SRTS state coordinators, police, school, community officials, etc.);
  • and institutionalizing the SRTS programs within the school system.

Eligible applicants include state and local health department injury prevention programs. State applicants will work with a local community to carry out the mini-grant activities. Depending on the available funds, three to six applicants will be awarded approximately $12,500 each. A subset of the awardees will be randomly selected to receive approximately $3,000 each in additional funds for tools, trainings, and expertise to enhance collaboration while developing their SRTS programs. This latter group of awardees will be assigned a mentor who has extensive experience in SRTS and will be trained to focus more extensively on collaboration and partnerships to ensure long-term coalition/collaborative sustainability.

The mini-grant project period will be one year beginning in June 2007. Letters of intent are due on March 15, 2007, and the Request for Proposals (RFP) deadline is April 10, 2007. The RFP can be downloaded from STIPDA. Should you have any questions, please contact Michelle Wynn at (770) 690-9000 or michelle.wynn@stipda.org.


6. California’s AB 57 Would Extend State Funding for SRTS
Bill sponsored by Assembly member Nell Soto (original SRTS author)

In 1999, California became the first state to pass a Safe Routes to School bill. The bill directed one-third of California’s federal safety set-aside funding to Safe Routes to School-a total of about $22 million/year. Subsequent bills were approved in 2002 and 2004. However, the funding provision from the 2004 bill sunsets at the end of this year.

As a result, Assembly member Nell Soto (who drafted the three other pieces of legislation) has introduced AB 57 to remove the sunset on the bill and extend the California State SRTS program indefinitely. The need for this program is demonstrated by the more than $130 million in qualified grant applications California has received every year since the program began.

The guidance for the federal SRTS legislation (section 1404 of SAFETEA-LU) indicates that the new federal program is not meant to replace existing SRTS programs. A big test for this will take place through California’s legislative process of reviewing AB 57.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is supporting AB 57 and encourages all organizations and government agencies in California to do the same by sending a letter of support to the bill author. We encourage you to review AB 57.

To find out more or how you can send your support, please contact Deb Hubsmith at saferoutes@bikesbelong.org.


7. Advocacy Groups Kick-Off Illinois’ SRTS Program
Trainings taking place throughout the state

The beginning of 2007 has included a flurry of activity for the Illinois SRTS Program, thanks to a successful partnership between advocacy groups and the Illinois Department of Transportation. A team including the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the League of Illinois Bicyclists, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology was contracted by the DOT to engage in a variety of start-up activities for the program, and the work is in full swing.

Notable activities during January and February have included a series of fourteen SRTS training sessions throughout the state, co-presented by the consultant team and the Illinois SRTS Coordinator, Megan Holt. The trainings have received extremely positive feedback from participants, and by the end of February, over 600 representatives from Illinois municipalities, school districts, engineering firms, police departments and community organizations will have been trained.

The Illinois SRTS website was also launched this month, including the one-of-a-kind online School Travel Plan, which is a prerequisite for all funding applications.

For more information about the Illinois SRTS Program, contact Illinois SRTS Coordinator Megan Holt at Megan.Holt@illinois.gov. For questions about the work of the contract team, contact Melody Geraci at the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation at melody@biketraffic.org.


8. Arizona SRTS Program Fields First Applications
$400,000 will be programmed for planning grants

The Arizona Safe Routes to School Program recently closed its inaugural funding cycle, receiving thirty-three applications. The non-infrastructure-only pilot cycle offered $400,000 in funding to eligible Arizona applicants. Brian Fellows, Arizona’s Safe Routes to School Program coordinator, reported that the thirty-three applications requested a total of nearly $1.2 million.

Requests were received from a wide range of applicants - schools, school districts, cities, counties, council of governments, and a non-profit organization. Applicants represented rural, suburban, and urban areas covering a large portion of the state. The Arizona Safe Routes to School applications will be reviewed and ranked utilizing the expertise of the program’s fourteen-member Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee. Recommendations will be forwarded to the State Transportation Board, with the final selections announced in early May.

The Arizona Department of Transportation will announce the next funding cycle early this fall with at least $1 million in funding available for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.


9. ALRC Accepting Applications for City SRTS Pilot Program
Applications due March 7, 2007

The Active Living Resource Center (ALRC) is pleased to announce six openings for its spring/fall 2007 City Safe Routes to School Pilot Program. The ALRC staff initiated the City SRTS program in 2006 after noting that SRTS programs were not getting the same pickup in urban schools that they were getting in suburban schools.

The focal point of the City SRTS program is a community workshop or meeting. Prior to the workshop or meeting, the ALRC staff works with local organizers to try to identify the issues, existing municipal resources, and other programs that may have shared or similar purposes.

Cities, schools, agencies, and/or organizations interested in participating in this program should go to the ALRC’s Safe Routes to School page for more information and an application. Completed applications must be submitted to the ALRC before March 7th. If you have any questions on the program or need a mailed application, please contact Mark Plotz at mark@bikewalk.org or Sharon Roerty sharon@bikewalk.org.


10. Open Position: FHWA Bike/Ped Program Manager
Salary: $93,822 - $143,471; three step on-line application process

John Fegan announced last week that he is retiring from his role as the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the next few months. This is a senior staff position and includes the following responsibilities:

  • serving as the technical subject matter expert for FHWA’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program in providing technical assistance at national, regional, and local levels;
  • serving as lead staff person on bicycle and pedestrian issues in developing program guidance and policy development for FHWA;
  • participating on FHWA’s Byways, Bike-Ped, Trails and Enhancements Team in the Office of Natural and Human Environment.

Applications close March 14; see job summary.


Help Grow the National Partnership!

Joining the National Partnership is free. Please encourage other organizations, schools, businesses, and government agencies to affiliate with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership at Bikes Belong.

Funding for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership has been generously provided by the Bikes Belong Coalition, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and partner affiliates.

For more information, contact:

Deb Hubsmith, Coordinator
Safe Routes to School National Partnership
saferoutes@bikesbelong.org
www.saferoutespartnership.org
(415) 454-7430