Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #89: July 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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In this issue:
Childhood obesity affects the entire country, but it does not affect all communities equally. Children and all people living in lower-income and underserved communities are likely to face greater challenges in reversing patterns of inactivity and poor health. The zip code that you live in has a significant influence on outcomes related to activity levels and overall health, including life span.
A 2012 analysis of walkable communities found that streets with sidewalks, sidewalk lighting, marked crosswalks, and traffic calming features are significantly more common in higher-income areas than in middle- or lower-income areas. People living in higher income areas are also less likely to suffer from obesity, asthma, and other health ailments.
We need to do more to reduce disparities and ensure that safer streets and access to healthy places to play are provided for everyone.
As part of our efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is proud to announce our integral role in the Voices for Healthy Kids collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association. The National Partnership is leading the Active Places campaign, engaging, organizing, and mobilizing people to advance policies that support healthy community design, shared use and street-scale policies in underserved communities and schools. Learn more about the Voices for Healthy Kids collaboration here.
Join the conversation today! Lift up your stories of increasing physical activity through changes in the built environment and help show leaders the power of healthy community design in reversing childhood obesity. Tweet your stories, successes, and goals to #SignsofProgress and follow along to see what others like you are doing.
Over the past few weeks, there has been quite a bit of action on federal transportation policy. First, the US Department of Transportation issued the final guidance and a Q&A about the Transportation Alternatives program, which includes Safe Routes to School projects. Read our blog on the guidance for more details, and register for our July 22 webinar for all the latest on this critical program.
In addition, we have a new US Secretary of Transportation – welcome Secretary Anthony Foxx! And, there is new Complete Streets legislation introduced in Congress, a step forward on addressing climate change, and new efforts on the Safe Routes to School match. Check out our most recent federal policy blog for more on all these happenings.
The Voices for Healthy Kids’ Strategic Campaign Fund is awarding grants with a mix of lobbying and non-lobbying resources to support strategic issue advocacy campaigns focused on fighting childhood obesity through state, local, and tribal public policy campaigns aligned with the Voices for Healthy Kids policy priorities: increasing access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other opportunities to be physically active; helping states ensure that all foods served in U.S. schools are healthy; reducing consumption of sugary beverages; protecting children from unhealthy food and beverage marketing; increasing access to affordable healthy foods; and helping schools and youth-serving programs increase children’s physical activity levels. Learn more about the awards and how to apply here.
To register, visit the conference website atwww.saferoutesconference.org. Don’t miss out on participating in over 60 sessions, seven tours of model projects and programs, networking opportunities, and some exciting interactive features including an on-site Charitable Bike Buildwhere participants can act in a public service act by building bikes during the conference that will provide several local youth with the opportunity to either own a new bike, or have access to riding a new bike through their involvement in a local youth organization.
When you register for the conference, don’t forget to register for the National Partnership’s free Annual Meeting at the same time!
Coast to coast, communities are implementing shared use agreements and street scale campaigns to increase access to physical activity in underserved communities. In LA County and Philadelphia, small changes - like keeping a public swimming pool open longer or bringing together leaders from multiple sectors to discuss street safety - help communities improve health, safety, and livability for all residents.
Read more about LA County and Philadelphia’s shared use and street scale success stories in our blog post.
Our monthly technical assistance webinar series features expert speakers, a chat feature for participants, and archived downloadable post-webinar recordings. Join us for these upcoming webinars:
Harnessing the Power of GIS for Safe Routes to School
July 11th, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern – Register here
We’ll discuss the best ways to obtain data through GIS for Safe Routes to School and walking and bicycling planning and implementation, standards for data collection, dissemination and storage, and more.
One Year Later: Where We Are on Transportation Alternatives
July 22, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern – Register here
In this webinar, learn the details of the brand-new guidance issued by the US Department of Transportation, hear more about the decisions each state has made on how much funding they will dedicate to bicycling and walking, and learn more about the newest player in this grant program: large Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).
How Highway Safety Funds Can Boost Safe Routes to School: Tapping Into the Highway Safety Improvement Program
August 1, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern – Register here
Webinar attendees will hear from the FHWA on the origin of HSIP funding, criteria for its use, and innovative approaches to accessing HSIP dollars for bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs.
With a focus on street-scale improvements in this issue, we highlight recent activities with the state and regional networks that are serving as catalysts to built environment improvements. In June, the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council (SCAG RC) approved recommendations from its six subcommittees, including the active transportation subcommittee, established during the adoption of SCAG’s regional transportation plan (RTP) in 2012. The SCAG RC approved the recommendations from the active transportation subcommittee, which included developing a methodology for selecting and prioritizing regionally-supported active transportation projects as well as seeking opportunities to promote and support transportation investments with an active transportation component. These recommendations serve as the framework for SCAG’s 2016 RTP and furthering improvements to the built environment for all transportation users.
Keeping Little Feet Fired and Big Hearts Inspired (Rosie Mesterhazy)
America’s Fittest Cities: Neighborhood Design, Green Building, and Fitness (Jane Ward)
The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has announced its 2013 awards for funding to applicants for Safe Routes to School Program. 52 applications seeking over $7.6 million were submitted during the fifth application period of the program. Approximately $2 million in funds were awarded to 31projects. These awards include a variety of projects including planning, design and construction of sidewalks, crossings, and bicycle facilities as well as traffic diversion and speed reduction improvements along with public awareness campaigns, traffic education, walking school buses, bike trains, enforcement and outreach activities. Learn more here.
For more information, contact: