Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #42: June 2009
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. SRTSNP Welcomes New Steering Committee Members
Fresh experience and geographic perspective will bring value to the Partnership
2. Safe Routes to School National Conference in Portland, OR
Early registration available until Monday, June 15
3. Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Federal Update
Moving ahead on SRTS with Senate bill and more
4. Applications Open for 2009 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award
Deadline to apply is July 15 – access application at www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar
5. National Physical Activity Plan 2009 Conference
The Partnership is attending to help promote Safe Routes to School
6. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Built Environment
Designing communities to promote physical activity in children
8. Safe Routes to School Popular in Missouri
Nearly $9 million worth of funding has been awarded
9. Pennsylvania Announces $16.8 Million for Safe Routes to School
30 projects were selected from the 101 applications received
10. Safe Routes to School News Throughout the Country
Local and State SRTS program news links
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is governed by a Steering Committee with national, state, and local perspectives on Safe Routes to School. The Partnership is pleased to announce and welcome the following new Steering Committee organizations: Alliance for Biking and Walking (Kristin Steele), City of Decatur (Fred Boykin), Kaiser Permanente (Dr. Sandra Stenmark), and Mississippi Department of Health, STIPDA affiliate (Carrie Fielder). In addition, the following Steering Committee organizations were nominated and selected to serve for another term on the Steering Committee: Active Living by Design (Risa Wilkerson), American Association of School Administrators (Kelly Beckwith), and WalkBoston (Wendy Landman). The Steering Committee, a diverse group of up to 21 members, functions as the Partnership’s Board of Directors and holds decision-making responsibility for the Partnership.
To view a complete list of current Steering Committee organizations and their member representatives, click here.
Register today for the Safe Routes to School National Conference August 19-21, 2009 in beautiful, bicycle-friendly Portland, Oregon and take advantage of the early registration rate of $300, which was extended to Monday, June 15.
We are pleased to announce that several keynote speakers have been confirmed for the conference, including:
- Howard Frumkin, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
- Richard Jackson, UCLA Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences
- Larry Seltzer, The Conservation Fund, President/CEO
- Loel Solomon, Kaiser Permanente, Community Benefit Fund
- And more
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
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. There will also be a Kaiser Permanente sponsored pre-conference health training on August 18 which you can register for on the website.
Finally - 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
Please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested in attending. Hope to see you there!
The last month has been an eventful one for supporters of Safe Routes to School. Chairman Oberstar of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee may be releasing a draft of the next transportation bill, or at least white papers outlining his intended approach, this month. To prepare for the transportation bill, Members of Congress spent much of May building support for their priorities. Specific to SRTS:
- In the Senate, a bipartisan group of Senators [Harkin (D-IA), Burr (R-NC), Sanders (I-VT), Merkley (D-OR), and Collins (R-ME)] introduced S. 1156, the Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act. The bill proposes to strengthen and expand SRTS, and the provisions of the legislation track the Partnership’s platform; full details are on our website. We ask all SRTS supporters to contact your Senators to ask them to cosponsor the legislation. If we can build a lot of support, it will help ensure that SRTS is included in the next transportation bill.
- In the House, Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Lipinski (D-IL), and Edwards (D-MD) each took the lead on letters to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee in support of SRTS and other bicycle/pedestrian and safety programs. Several dozen Members of Congress signed on to the letters, which help demonstrate that there is broad support for the program’s expansion in the next transportation bill.
- Also in the House, Republican leaders Reps. Boehner and Cantor issued a list of dozens of programs they propose eliminating to reduce spending. Included on the list is Safe Routes to School and other bike/ped programs like Transportation Enhancements and the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program.
The list of proposed reductions was released to the media as a letter to President Obama and is not a part of the regular budget and appropriations process at this point. We are working with the America Bikes Coalition to respond to this proposal, and feel confident that SRTS has support among both Republicans and Democrats. Another way to show your support for SRTS and counter this proposal is to encourage more Senators to cosponsor the Senate SRTS bill.
In other news, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The bill would establish a system for capping greenhouse gas emissions and auctioning off emissions allowances, and includes a transportation planning section to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. The bill still has several steps to go before it could become law, including consideration by other House Committees, the full House, and the Senate.
4. Applications Open for 2009 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award
Deadline to apply is July 15 – access application at www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar
The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for the 2009 James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2009. To access the award application and criteria, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar.
The Oberstar Award is given annually by the National Center for Safe Routes to School to an exemplary Safe Routes to School program in the United States. The 2009 Oberstar Award will recognize outstanding achievement by a school in conducting a SRTS program that benefited from the Federal SRTS funding awarded by its State. The Award specifically will recognize a school with a Safe Routes to School program that has achieved success while overcoming challenges in implementing and/or sustaining the program.
"We realize that programs with outstanding achievements have had to find ways to address local challenges," says Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. "We want to recognize current issues affecting our schoolchildren and how schools are dealing with these issues. We ask the applicants to describe how Safe Routes to School addressed any type of adversity or challenge - in their own terms and within the realities of their own environments."
The award is named for Congressman Oberstar (D-MN) to honor his dedication to American schoolchildren as the pioneer for the National Safe Routes to School Program. Oberstar, current Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sponsored the Safe Routes to School legislation that strives to create safe settings to enable more parents and children to walk and bicycle to school.
Bear Creek Elementary School, in Boulder, Colorado, received the 2008 Oberstar SRTS Award for Outstanding Local Program. The school is one of the first in the country to have walking school buses throughout the school year. Parent volunteers keep track of students’ travel through monthly tallies, and Kent Cruger, principal at Bear Creek Elementary, challenges students daily with his own examples of car-free travel.
For more information, contact Pam Barth at (919)962-8717, email@example.com.
A National Physical Activity Plan that will help Americans become physically active every day is being developed by researchers, healthcare professionals, and educators throughout the United States. A conference to develop the plan will be held July 1 – 2, 2009, in Washington, D.C., seeking input from policymakers, scientists, healthcare providers, and leaders in public health, education, transportation, media, business and industry, including non-profit organizations. For more information and to register, please visit www.physicalactivityplan.org/conference2009.htm
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is attending and encourages you to participate in this process too and help advocate for Safe Routes to School in one of the eight working group sectors represented at the conference: Public Health; Education; Volunteer and Non-Profit Organizations; Transportation, Urban Design, and Community Planning; Mass Media; Healthcare; Business and Industry; and Parks, Recreation, Fitness, and Sports.
If you plan to attend and participate in one of the working groups and would like talking points on including Safe Routes to School in the National Physical Activity Plan, please contact Brooke Driesse.
Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that highlights how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity. The policy statement declares that, “’Utilitarian’ physical activity, such as walking or bicycling to school and to other activities, is an equally important part of a child’s daily life. Environments that promote more active lifestyles among children and adolescents will be important to enable them to achieve recommended levels of physical activity.” Walking and bicycling to school as a way to achieve the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended 60 minutes a day of physical activity is mentioned throughout the policy. To view the policy statement in whole, please visit http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;123/6/1591
7. Active Living Research Conference Seeks Abstracts & Award Nominations
Call for Abstracts: www.activelivingresearch.org/conference/2010/cfa2010
Active Living Research (ALR), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has announced a call for presentation and paper abstracts, and a call for award nominations for its 2010 Annual Conference. The theme of the 2010 conference is “Engaging Communities to Create Active Living Environments.” A secondary theme of the conference will be “Accelerating Progress in Reversing Childhood Obesity.” Abstracts describing research results on all topics related to active living policies and environments are welcome and abstracts related to the conference theme are particularly encouraged.
Read the full Call for Abstracts. Abstract submission deadline is July 29, 2009 at 1pm pacific.
Also a part of the 2010 Annual Conference, the “Translating Research to Policy” award will recognize innovators who have successfully harnessed research to impact policy and environmental changes. The winner will be announced at the conference, February 9-11, 2010 in San Diego, CA.
Read the full Call for Nominations. The Nomination deadline is August 26, 2009 at 1pm pacific.
The SRTS program has been very popular in Missouri. There have been more than 200 applications requesting over $50 million since the program was initiated. The large number of applications has kept the SRTS advisory committee busy reviewing projects. From the requests for funds, nearly $9 million of projects have been awarded.
A highlight of the program has been Pednet’s Walking School Bus. The walking school bus encourages children to walk to school under adult supervision. Having a trained adult lead the group eases concerns parents may have that would typically make them hesitant to allow their child to walk to school. In the fall of 2008, more than 400 children participated in the program in Columbia, MO alone.
Missouri has recently hired a new SRTS Coordinator, John Schaefer. John has worked in the field of Traffic Safety for the past eight years and will bring a new perspective to the position. For more information about Missouri’s program, please contact John at 573-751-2845.
Pennsylvania recently awarded $16.8 million in Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding that will benefit communities across the Commonwealth. From the 101 applications that were received, 30 projects that serve to enhance walking and bicycling facilities around K-8 schools were selected. Funded projects include infrastructure improvements such as sidewalk repair or replacement, crosswalks, walk/bike paths, signs, signals, and other traffic calming features.
The projects were selected by Pennsylvania’s SRTS Project Selection Committee, which consists of members from the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation, Education, Health, and Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as the Federal Highways Administration and the Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity (PANA). Additionally, Pennsylvania’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Rural Planning Organizations provided feedback on each project in their region. The projects selected best exemplify the core principles of Safe Routes to School, including the five E’s of SRTS: education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and engineering.
The newly-announced projects are in addition to the ten schools that have already received non-infrastructure grants from the PANA’s Safe Routes to School Academy. As Pennsylvania’s non-infrastructure consultant for the SRTS program, PANA awards $5,000 grants to schools to help them establish, or expand, walk to school programs. For more on PANA and their role in Pennsylvania’s SRTS program, please visit: www.srtsacademy.org.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s Federal Safe Routes to School Program, please contact Chris Metka, Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 787-8065.
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: