Safe Routes to School E-News
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a growing national network of more than 400 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue:
1. Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Federal Update
House transportation bill unveiled; Administration proposes an 18 month extension
2. Including Students with Disabilities in SRTS Programs
Join our roundtable discussion on August 4 from noon to 1:30pm eastern
3. Safe Routes to School National Conference in Portland, OR
You won’t want to miss an exciting Kaiser pre-conference health event
4. Smart Growth America’s 120-day Stimulus Report
Reports how each state’s ARRA transportation dollars were spent
5. Weight of the Nation: CDC Conference on Obesity Prevention & Control
Deb Hubsmith asked to speak on Transportation and Health
6. Leadership for Healthy Communities Action Strategies Toolkit
Safe Routes to School is included in the toolkit
7. Active Living Research Call for Proposals Currently Open
Rapid Response Grants and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections
8. Georgia Announces Selection of 1st Safe Routes to School Projects
13 projects were selected from the 65 applications received
9. Vermont Announces Third Non-Infrastructure Round Awards
Also providing 12 schools with close to 150 bike parking spots later this summer
10. Safe Routes to School News Throughout the Country
Local and State SRTS program news links
The biggest news over the past several weeks has been focused on the timing and content of the surface transportation bill—a discussion that is ongoing. On June 17, US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on Congress to pass an 18-month extension of the current transportation bill and existing programs that would fill the funding shortfall in the highway trust fund and postpone decisions on how to fund the new transportation bill until after the 2010 Congressional elections. Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Inhofe (R-OK), who head the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, agreed with the Secretary’s request.
However, on the House side, Reps. Oberstar (D-MN), Mica (R-FL), DeFazio (D-OR), and Duncan (R-TN), were united in their desire to move forward with the full transportation bill. They are positioning the transportation bill as a “jobs bill” that would pour hundreds of millions of dollars into transportation infrastructure, helping with the U.S. economic recovery. Within a week of the Secretary’s announcement, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee moved forward with consideration of its transportation bill, the Surface Transportation Authorization Act. The bill was approved unanimously by the House transportation subcommittee on June 24.
Provisions in the bill specific to Safe Routes to School include:
- Reauthorizes the program and moves it under the authority of a new Office of Livability, which will also oversee other bicycle/pedestrian programs.
- Incorporates a number of our recommendations to strengthen data collection and evaluation, simplify the implementation procedures to speed up project delivery and reduce overhead, and ensure that state DOTs must expend funds within four years.
- No funding levels are included in the bill for any program, so we will continue to advocate that the program be expanded to $600 million per year.
- Our proposed expansion to high schools and bus stop safety was not included, so we will continue to work to see that these provisions are ultimately included in the final transportation bill.
- Full details on provisions related to Safe Routes to School can be found on the National section of our website.
Over the next month, there will be additional discussions between the House, Senate, and the Administration about the timing of the transportation bill and the proposed extension.
In addition, two other legislative priorities related to Safe Routes to School continue to move forward:
- Three new co-sponsors have joined S. 1156, the Senate SRTS reauthorization bill—bringing the total number of co-sponsors to eight. The new supporters are: Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). The Partnership has personally met with thirty Senate offices in the last three weeks to grow support for the bill. Please add your support and ask your Senator to co-sponsor S. 1156.
- The House passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which is focused on addressing climate change. ACES includes provisions requiring large Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to address greenhouse gas reductions in their transportation planning. In addition, states will receive ten percent of auction revenues for renewable energy and energy efficiency. States can use up to ten percent of those funds to pay for the matching funds on federally-funded transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects. Action on the climate bill now moves to the Senate.
The Diverse Communities Committee of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership will host a nationwide roundtable to discuss needs and strategies for the inclusion of students with disabilities in Safe Routes to School programs. The event will be held via teleconference on Tuesday, August 4 from noon to 1:30pm Eastern Daylight Time. Register for the roundtable by emailing your name and affiliate organization (if any) to Brooke Driesse. Registrants will receive dial-in information prior to the meeting date.
Register today for the Safe Routes to School National Conference August 19-21, 2009 in beautiful, bicycle-friendly Portland, Oregon. Already nearly 400 people are registered, and registration will close Friday, August 7.
Whether you are a local practitioner, transportation planner, advocate, school official, engineer, parent, health professional, researcher, non-profit partner, or with law enforcement, this conference will provide valuable information for propelling your Safe Routes to School work to the next level. You can view the conference program at www.saferoutesconference.org/conference.php
Portland is gorgeous in August, so you may want to consider coming to town early or staying late for a much needed vacation! For more information on what to do while you are in Portland, visit http://www.saferoutesconference.org/travel.php#travel
A big thanks to the conference sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, City of Portland, Oregon Department of Transportation, Metro, Alta Planning + Design, and Cycle Oregon.
We would also like to invite you to come a day early and participate in a unique Continuing Medical Education (CME) workshop sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. On Tuesday, August 18th, join pediatric clinicians and other health care providers in exploring how to influence policy and environmental change in the communities where you live, work, and play. The "Climate for Change: Creating Safe, Active Environments for our Children" workshop will give you tools and resources to use the Safe Routes to School campaign as an intervention to decrease childhood obesity, access a wide range of resources that promote improved health for the entire community, and leverage the role of health provider to advocate for children’s safety and health.
At the Kaiser Permanente event, be inspired and motivated by keynote presentations from Richard Jackson, MD, MPH and Martin LeBlanc, Children and Nature Network. Enter into lively discussions with two panels of experts on climate change, the environment, and physician advocacy:
- Lawrence Frank, PhD - J. Armand Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Urban Transportation Systems, UBC
- George Luber, PhD - National Center for Environmental Health, CDC
- Catherine Thomasson, MD - Past President, Physicians for Social Responsibility
- Andrew L. Dannenberg, MD, MPH - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- Scott Gee, MD - Director for Prevention & Health Information, Permanente Medical Group, Northern California
- Sandra Stenmark, MD - Director of Pediatric Wellness, Permanente Medical Group, Colorado
- Arthur Wendel, MD, MPH - National Center for Environmental Health, CDC
Registration is online only at the Safe Routes Conference website. For questions and additional information, please email Kathie Fitzgerald. The cost for the CME Workshop is $95, including continental breakfast, lunch, and all conference materials.
Accreditation: The Northwest Permanente Department of Clinical and Leadership Education, Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region, accredited by the Oregon Medical Association, designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Clinicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested in attending. Hope to see you there!
Within the $787 billion stimulus bill that became law in February, Congress provided states and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) with $26.6 billion in flexible funds for transportation projects. The first half of the funding was to be committed within 120 days, by Monday, June 29th.
Smart Growth America, in conjunction with state coalition partners, released a report on the 120-day mark detailing how well each state is handling its transportation stimulus money. Are the projects creating jobs while making smart investments in transportation? How transparent and accountable are the funding choices? Are the states making progress on their pressing transportation needs?
While some states proved excellent at investing wisely and making progress, most states failed to fulfill pressing transportation needs. Nearly one-third of the money, $6.6 billion, went towards building new road capacity. Only 0.9% was spent on public transportation, and 2.8% percent on non-motorized projects.
On July 27-29, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, will host its inaugural conference on obesity prevention and control, Weight of the Nation, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C. Register today!
Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, has been asked to speak on Transportation and Health, and looks forward to sharing how Safe Routes to School is helping to create a healthier America through policy changes and changes to the built environment.
Weight of the Nation is designed to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies and is framed around four intervention settings: community, medical care, school, and workplace. Plenary and concurrent sessions will focus on strategies implemented in these settings that have led to policy and environmental changes which may improve population-level health. A key feature of the conference is a move from didactic presentations to an emphasis on interactive discussion between plenary and concurrent session panelists, and the audience. Plenary sessions will present case studies on the use of policy and environmental strategies within certain settings (e.g., workplaces) and sectors (e.g., law or economics) while concurrent sessions will discuss specific issues within the setting context (e.g., strategies to leverage built-environment initiatives to increase physical activity in workplaces).
The primary audience includes elected and appointed public policymakers; federal, state and local public health leaders; as well as partners and researchers engaged in policy related obesity prevention and control initiatives.
Working in close collaboration with 11 influential policy-maker organizations, Leadership for Healthy Communities developed a toolkit to equip state, municipal, county, and school leaders with promising and evidence-based policy approaches designed to improve children’s health and reduce childhood obesity. This comprehensive resource includes strategies in 10 policy areas, lists of key stakeholders, tips on how to start programs, and examples of policies that states and communities have implemented successfully. It is prefaced with an unequivocal leadership statement signed by executive directors from each of the 11 participating policy-maker organizations. This statement underscores the organizations’ recognition that childhood obesity is a national problem and reflects their commitment to work collaboratively across levels of government to build healthier communities.
Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to support local and state leaders nationwide in their efforts to promote healthy, active communities and access to affordable, healthy foods.
Active Living Research and Healthy Eating Research are national programs of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that support research to identify promising policy and environmental strategies for increasing physical activity, promoting healthy eating, and preventing obesity. The deadline for letters of intent is July 17, 2009. This call for proposals (CFP) supports time-sensitive, opportunistic studies to evaluate changes in policies or environments with the potential to reach children who are at highest risk for obesity, including African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander children (ages 3 to 18) who live in low-income communities or communities with limited access to affordable healthy foods and/or safe opportunities for physical activity. Research studies may focus on one or both sides of the energy balance equation—on physical activity (including sedentary behavior), healthy eating, or both. Studies funded under this CFP are expected to advance RWJF’s efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.
The Active Living Research 2009—Robert Woods Johnson Foundation New Connections Call for Proposals focuses on studies of policy and environmental strategies for increasing physical activity, decreasing sedentary behaviors, and preventing obesity among children and adolescents. The deadline for applications is July 29, 2009. Target populations include children and adolescents ages 3 to 18 that are at greatest risk for obesity: African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander children and children who live in under-resourced and/or lower-income communities. This funding opportunity is for new investigators (defined as individuals who received their doctorate or terminal degree within the last seven years) from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. Two types of grants are available through this funding opportunity: Research and Publication Grants. Research grants (up to four research grants of up to $75,000 each for 12-18 months will be awarded in this category) can be either: small-scale studies to identify and evaluate environmental determinants or evaluate promising changes to physical activity environments or policies in a variety of settings or macro-level analyses of policies and environmental approaches that impact children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Publication grants to support scientific manuscripts relevant to Active Living Research’s overall mission that will contribute to the applicant’s scholarly productivity (up to three publication grants of up to $12,000 each for 12 months will be awarded in this category). All proposals for both research grants and publication grants must be submitted online through the RWJF Grantmaking Online system by 1pm PT on Wednesday, July 29, 2009. Investigators who meet the specific eligibility criteria for this CFP also are eligible and encouraged to apply for other ALR grant opportunities.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is excited about funding Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure projects to enhance safety around schools and encourage more children to bicycle and walk to school. The awarding of the projects has been a long time coming, therefore, GDOT sought to ensure that schools across the state benefited from the first call for projects for Georgia’s SRTS program. Accordingly, the top scoring project from each of Georgia’s 13 Congressional Districts was selected for funding.
In this inaugural selection round, GDOT received 65 applications, totaling approximately $23 million in requests, which far exceeded their available funding for this year. Selected projects are all within a two-mile radius of a K-8 school and demonstrate active involvement in SRTS activities. The estimated cost for each award is $500,000 or less and the total amount awarded is $5.7 million. Selected projects include infrastructure improvements such as sidewalk, crosswalks, walk/bike paths, signs, signals, and other traffic calming features.
The selection process for this competitive first round involved extensive review and comment by the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Project Review Panel. This review panel consisted of members from Georgia’s Departments of Transportation and Public Health, as well as the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and Georgia PTA Association. Additionally, Georgia’s SRTS Design Consultant, Kimley-Horn & Associates provided feedback on each project’s cost estimate. The recommended projects were then presented to and accepted by the State Transportation Board.
Kimley-Horn will assist GDOT with the design and rapid implementation of all awarded infrastructure projects. This firm will provide the preliminary engineering for the 13 selected projects and prepare projects for letting. They will coordinate with the local transportation or public works departments and school districts on the project designs.
As an added benefit to receiving SRTS funding, selected projects will also receive assistance from Georgia’s SRTS Resource Center at no cost. This Center is a “One Stop Shop” that will provide technical assistance, bike/ped safety training, marketing, and outreach services for the non-infrastructure components of Safe Routes to School. The Center will be available to assist awardees and all K-8 schools in Georgia as early as August 2009.
Georgia DOT is very proud of the progress it has made with the SRTS program and looks forward to continued success through its streamlined project implementation process. For more information on Georgia’s Federal SRTS program, please visit the GDOT SRTS website.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) as part of its continuing efforts to promote the development of safe bicycle and walking routes recently announced $200,000 in non-infrastructure funding.
“The number of Vermont kids who are routinely driven to school by their parents has been as high as 65 percent,” said VTrans Secretary David Dill. “Providing safe bicycle and pedestrian routes so kids can walk and bike to school helps alleviate traffic congestion around schools, improves safety, and increases a community’s quality of life.”
The non-infrastructure grants recently awarded will support planning and program efforts such as pedestrian and bicycle safety education, the development of contests and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling, and evaluation of student/parent attitudes and behavior. Money will also be used to assess the existing condition of streets and sidewalks around schools.
Participation in the planning and program development phase of the SRTS Program makes a community eligible for infrastructure funding to improve items like sidewalks, crossings, signals, signs, and pavement markings within a two-mile radius of the school.
For more information on Vermont’s SRTS Program, contact VTrans Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Aimee Pope, at 802-828-5799 or email@example.com.
Safe Routes to School news around the country keeps growing! Updated regularly, see our new Safe Routes to School 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.
For more information, contact: