Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #61: January 2011
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership), a growing network of more than five hundred non-profit organizations, government agencies, schools 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. Our mission is to advocate for 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.
To receive future issues of E-News, email email@example.com.
In this issue:
1. Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Federal Update
Countering threats to Safe Routes to School
2. Designed Copy of 2011-2015 Strategic Plan Now Available
An Executive Summary of the Strategic Plan is also available for viewing
3. Safe Routes to School State Network Project Update
Recap of 2010 policy progress and successes
5. National Partnership Co-hosting SRTS National Course Instructor Training
Taking place April 18-21 in Denver, Colorado
6. A High Five for Our Five for Five Campaign
A warm thanks to our friends who contributed
9. Louisiana Safe Routes to School Applications Due by March 4
Yearly statewide training helping improve quality of applications
10. SRTS News Throughout the Country
Local and state SRTS program news links
Last week, the new Congress convened, switching control of the House to Republicans. House leaders have indicated they will be focusing heavily on cutting back federal spending. Given Rep. Cantor’s attempt last summer to cut Safe Routes to School funding, there is a real threat that the House could try to eliminate Safe Routes to School funding or Transportation Enhancements through either the appropriations process or the next transportation bill.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership takes these potential threats seriously and we are mobilizing to prevent them. We are revamping our messaging to show how cuts to Safe Routes to School will impact children’s safety, busing costs, traffic congestion and physical activity. We are partnering with America Bikes’ organizations to hold more than 170 in-district meetings to discuss the benefits of bicycling and walking and to ask for support of Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements. And, we are continuing to meet with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to determine the best legislative strategy. It is important to keep in mind that any cuts the House proposes must also be agreed upon by the Senate and Administration, which have demonstrated support for Safe Routes to School in the past.
We have a strong fight ahead, but we have good allies in Congress and in the field, and a solid foundation of support to build upon. However—our most important ally in this Congress is you. Safe Routes to School advocates must be prepared to get involved and contact Congress as threats arise. We will certainly need your help in the coming months. So, please keep an eye on your email for any calls to action—and when they come, respond quickly and encourage other friends and supporters to respond too. With your help, this is a fight we can win.
In other legislative news, in late December, Congress passed an extension to the surface transportation bill until March 4, 2011, likely meaning the transportation bill will have to be extended again. Starting with this extension, the federal Safe Routes to School program will get a small funding bump as it will be included in the distributions of funds that were originally dedicated to now-completed high-priority projects (i.e. earmarked projects). In addition, in January, the House passed new operating rules that now allow transportation spending to be cut through the annual appropriations process. In the past, appropriators (who set spending levels) were not allowed to reduce spending below the levels provided in the surface transportation bill. This rules change indicates that transportation spending could be subject to cuts, particularly when spending exceeds the funds generated through the federal gas tax.
2. Designed Copy of 2011-2015 Strategic Plan Now Available
An Executive Summary of the Strategic Plan is also available for viewing
We previously shared a final text copy of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, but we are now excited to share a beautifully designed version of the 2011-2015 final Strategic Plan. Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the process and who gave valuable feedback. With your help, we believe that we have successfully honed in on the most important goals, focus areas, objectives and tactics to ensure a strong and sustainable Safe Routes to School movement and a world in which children can safely walk and bicycle to school, and in daily life. We look forward to working with our partners to advance the Safe Routes to School movement through the implementation of our Strategic Plan in the coming years. A copy of the Executive Summary of the Strategic Plan is also available for viewing.
The State Network Project expanded to 20 states in January 2010 through continued funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. In each state, networks conducted initial research and set priorities in a variety of policy categories, including the state Safe Routes to School program, complete streets, school siting, personal safety, low-income communities, statewide curriculum and education, strategic highway safety plan, implementation of Safe Routes to School-related legislation, school bus funding, school wellness policies and fine-based funding mechanisms.
Collectively, the 20 state networks engaged more than 600 partner organizations, set priorities, built productive relationships with state agencies and conducted outreach to stakeholders, provided technical assistance and created and distributed supportive resources. Networks researched and advocated for policy changes within their states that support increases in physical activity and safety through walking and bicycling to school, and throughout daily life. The networks have also been instrumental in leveraging additional funding for Safe Routes to School.
Some 2010 policy progress and successes include:
- The California, Hawaii and Wisconsin networks were invited to serve on state advisory committees to develop guidance on complete streets laws.
- The Hawaii, Montana and Oklahoma networks developed or adapted state-approved bicycle and pedestrian safety curricula, identified funding sources and are training teachers to teach thousands of children throughout the three states.
- The California Network is working to implement new climate legislation that will promote smart growth and build more bicycle and pedestrian facilities and access and the Colorado Network was invited by State Representative John Kefalas to implement new bicycle and pedestrian legislation.
- The DC Network is working to implement a Safe Passages crime prevention program, the Kentucky Network hosted a statewide webinar on personal safety for children, and the Oklahoma Network has leveraged funding to expand the AAA School Safety Patrol Program.
- The Kentucky, Maryland, Louisiana and Virginia networks led statewide efforts to conduct research, leverage funding and develop policies and guidelines that promote joint-use of facilities and community-centered schools.
To learn more about our 20 state networks’ activities in 2010, and from 2007-2009, please download the PDF - Selected Policy Successes: 2001 through 2010. Click here for more information about the State Network Project.
4. Highlight Your Local Policy Success Stories
Fill out our local policy form by February 4
As Safe Routes to School programs across the country are working toward sustainable changes through Safe Routes to School, understanding and implementing effective local policy is essential to increasing the number of students who can walk and bicycle to school, and in daily life. In an effort to meet this need, and with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is compiling examples of best practices for local policy initiatives from across the country to include in an upcoming local policy guide.
Has your community successfully implemented a local policy that benefits Safe Routes to School and children’s active transportation? We’re interested in hearing your story! If your community has made a successful policy change in any of the following areas, please take a moment to fill out our local policy form.
Local policy change examples:
Regional Transportation Plan Funding
Transportation Sales Tax Funding
Fine Based Funding and Traffic Calming
Zoning Changes accomplished through ordinances or the general plan
Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plans featuring Safe Routes to School
Health Impact Assessments
Bicycle and Pedestrian Curriculum
Reversing No Bicycling/No Walking
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has teamed up with Colorado’s Safe Routes to School program to host this spring’s National Course Instructor Training which is sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Taking place April 18-21, 2011 in Denver, CO, the National Course will train up to 12 individuals to become National Course instructors.
The instructor training experience is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the Safe Routes to School National Course and practical experience in course delivery. It includes discussion on the background and philosophy of the Course, observation of the Course being taught by master instructors, a thorough review of the key content and delivery methods for course modules and preparation and delivery of the course to a real-life community audience.
Since 2004, the Safe Routes to School National Course has been taught throughout the country by instructors trained by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the National Center for Safe Routes to School. This round of instructor training seeks to help meet demand and enable more communities to receive the Course.
If you are interested in taking the National Course, the call for applications can be found at www.saferoutesinfo.org/training/instructor_apps/index.cfm. Applications will be accepted until January 28.
Thanks to all of you who made a contribution to our Five for Five year-end giving campaign. We raised several thousand dollars from individuals passionate about Safe Routes to School. Combining with 100% support from our steering committee members, we are able to contribute to our general operations and, in particular, support our important advocacy efforts in Washington, DC.
Your support and the kind words, such as these from Sarah Strunk, director of Active Living by Design, are inspiring.
“We continue to support the Safe Routes to School National Partnership as the leading advocacy organization for safer routes to and from school. The National Partnership’s resources are instrumental to our work with communities across the country, and the benefits of membership include important opportunities to network with like-minded organizations.”
We look forward to working with you and our growing number of partners in the coming year. 2011 promises to be a year full of opportunities to make the case for safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from school, and in daily life. High five and thank you!
7. National Bike Summit in DC March 8-10
There are more people riding bicycles than ever. Yet half of all US trips are three miles or less, and more than 90 percent are made by car. The National Bike Summit, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, has improved bicycle-friendliness and livability in many communities, but the need and opportunity to improve physical activity, safety and livability in the US, while reducing congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on oil – remains greater today than a decade ago.
Now is the time to ask Congress to make and retain strategic transportation investments that foster healthy people and healthy communities. Safe Routes to School will be on the agenda too, so you won’t want to miss the 2011 National Bike Summit. The National Partnership is sending eight staff to the National Bike Summit; join us in DC for this important event.
8. Active Living Research Conference in San Diego February 22-24
The eighth Active Living Research Annual Conference will be held February 22-24, 2011 at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego in downtown San Diego, CA.
The theme for the 2011 conference is Partnerships for Progress in Active Living: From Research to Action, which recognizes the importance of engaging experts from multiple disciplines to address critical public health issues, especially active living and obesity.
Strong partnerships among researchers, policymakers and community stakeholders are essential for identifying and implementing promising, sustainable solutions that are relevant to the people who are most affected. The 2011 conference will highlight successful partnerships that have evaluated or implemented policy or environmental approaches for increasing physical activity, decreasing sedentary behavior or preventing obesity, particularly among children and families. Such partnerships could be comprised of experts from multiple disciplines, such as public health, public administration, law/government, economics, transportation, medicine, recreation, urban planning, architecture, behavioral sciences, child care, advocacy or education. Research on the development of partnerships themselves that helps to identify performance metrics and "best practices" will also be highlighted.
To register today, visit www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=902154.
The Louisiana Safe Routes to School Program has successfully executed a funding cycle each year since 2006, and opened its fifth round of funding on January 3, 2011. The deadline for application submissions is March 4, 2011. To date, 46 projects have been approved between 2007 and 2010. The quality of applications has elevated each cycle with more comprehensive proposals and innovative ideas. This is due in large part to the statewide training that has been offered each year since 2007. In an effort to be sensitive to shrinking travel budgets, the statewide meeting was replaced with five regional trainings in 2010, creating an opportunity for dialog regarding local needs and concerns. More than 100 potential partners were trained.
Meanwhile, the Louisiana Safe Routes to School state network is building relationships with key partners across the state and offering technical assistance to help ensure that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) sees high demand for the current funding cycle. The network is also working with National Partnership staff and the LADOTD Safe Routes Coordinator to identify and disseminate national best practices for utilizing non-infrastructure funds, in hopes to catalyze stronger and more effective non-infrastructure proposals from organizations across Louisiana.
For more information on the Louisiana Safe Routes to School Program, contact Shalanda Cole, State Coordinator at (504) 484-0204 or Shalanda.firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Louisiana Safe Routes to School State Network Project, contact Nyssa Hackett, State Network Organizer at email@example.com.
Safe Routes to School news around the country keeps growing! Updated regularly, see our new SRTS in the News media center for the latest in local, state, and national SRTS news.
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 500 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.