Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #82: November 2012
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:
1. Implementing MAP-21 – the New Transportation Law
Updates on guidance, matching funds and state spending
In late October, the US Department of Transportation released the new interim guidance on the Transportation Alternatives program under MAP-21. Specific to Safe Routes to School, the guidance rules that Safe Routes to School projects (like all other Transportation Alternatives projects) require a 20 percent local match for funded projects. The guidance also rules that Safe Routes to School coordinators can be paid from Transportation Alternatives funds, which should help ensure that these important staff positions are retained.
Specific to the match, this change only applies to new projects funded under Transportation Alternatives; projects funded using leftover Safe Routes to School dollars will continue to be 100 percent federally funded. Many states still have Safe Routes to School funding remaining – see our latest state of the states to see how your state rates.
As competitions begin for Transportation Alternatives dollars, we know it will be a challenge for Safe Routes to School advocates to identify matching funds. While we continue to work with Congress to try and reverse the match policy, it is smart for advocates to familiarize themselves with what types of dollars can count towards the match. Our latest blog post gives you all the details you need to get started.
2. Three New Research Briefs on Walking/Bicycling to School
Use them to strengthen your message
Active Living Research recently released three new research briefs featuring evidence on policies, programs and practices that support walking and bicycling to school. When children can safely and easily walk or bicycle to school, they get more physical activity-something that can help prevent obesity and promote good health. Research can help make the case for Safe Routes to School to legislators, funders, school officials, city officials and parents, so share the info you find in these three briefs to strengthen your message:
- The Impact of State Safe Routes to School-related Laws on Active Travel to School Policies and Practices in U.S. Elementary Schools
- Program Practices and Demographic Factors Associated with Federal Funding for the Safe Routes to School Program in the United States
- Impact of a Pilot Walking School Bus Intervention on Children's Pedestrian Safety Behaviors: A Pilot Study
3. Registration Now Open for Two Must Attend 2013 Conferences
New Partners for Smart Growth and the National Bike Summit
If you don’t already have these two 2013 conferences on your radar, check this out. First off, New Partners for Smart Growth is taking place February 7-9 in Kansas City, Missouri, with nearly 100 dynamic and exciting sessions, plenaries and local tours. This is going to be a landmark event. Secondly, the National Bike Summit is the premiere bicycle advocacy event of the year taking place March 4-7 in Washington, DC. Click here to learn more about these conferences and to register today!
4. Steps to a Walkable Community: Guide for Citizens, Planners and Engineers
More than 1700 copies have been downloaded already
Steps to a Walkable Community: Guide for Citizens, Planners and Engineers, released by America Walks in partnership with Sam Schwartz Engineering, is a collection of innovative, multidisciplinary tactics that have successfully improved and encouraged walking in communities around the country. Over the past month, 1700 copies have been downloaded. Spread the word and download your free copy today!
5. Partnership for a Healthier America's End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge
Submit your idea by November 16
On March 7, 2013, the Partnership for a Healthier America will bring together more than 1,000 leaders from public, private and non-profit organizations, all committed to solving the childhood obesity crisis in America. This year's agenda will feature a new program - the End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge - and they need your ideas. The End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge is an online contest that is asking everyone to submit unique ideas that could help in the fight against childhood obesity. Three finalists will be flown to DC to pitch the Summit attendees and a panel of judges – live – during the opening plenary. Want to learn more? Click here for all the details – and to submit an idea of your own. The submission deadline is November 16, 2012.
6. NARC Releases New Report: A Synthesis of Current Livability Practice
Seeking case studies; submit a Safe Routes to School study
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) released their latest livability resource last month, Livability Literature Review: A Synthesis of Current Practice. This comprehensive report describes how livability is understood, provides examples of livable communities in practice and adds clarity to several concepts. This new report will help local governments and their regional planning organizations, both urban and rural, better understand the resources available to create more livable communities. In order for regions to build stronger, more livable communities, NARC is seeking additional case studies of regional planning organizations and their communities. These case studies will showcase the important work in which your community is engaged and help future communities create more livable communities. Click here to share your Safe Routes to School case study.
7. State Network Project News
NJ and You – Perfect Together!
And perfect it was for the National Partnership’s first state network project retreat October 9 – 12 in Morristown, NJ which included our team of seven state advocacy organizers (from CA, FL, MS, NC, NJ, OH and TN), National Partnership staff directors and our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program officer, Jamie Bussel. Our objectives focused on enhancing the National Partnership strategies for achieving our RWJF grant-funded policy priorities to reverse childhood obesity including: award and obligation of Safe Routes to School funding, advancement of Complete Street polices and advancement of joint/shared use policies (all with a focus on lower-income communities and schools). Read more about the event, our accomplishments and continuing priorities, and the NJ partners who joined us.
8. Regional Network Project News
Pointing to the TIP for infrastructure changes
Through our work with the regional network project, we have highlighted the important role of Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs), but we are also realizing that Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) are an important tool in furthering bicycle and pedestrian projects. A region’s project evaluation criteria shape the types of projects that get added to the TIP. We are finding that influencing the elements on the evaluation criteria impacts the types of projects added to the TIP. Despite fiscal constraints, this approach gives life to bicycle and pedestrian projects. +Read more
10. Featured States
Highlighting Louisiana and South Carolina
The Louisiana Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School program (LASRTS) will open the 7th cycle of funding January 2, 2013. Throughout the first six application cycles, LASRTS has funded 65 applicants; providing improvements to 88 schools around the state. Louisiana expects to fund more than $2 million in projects in the 2013 application cycle. Applications are due March 1, 2013. +Read more
To date, South Carolina Safe Routes to School has awarded 24 projects (totaling a little more than $3.7 million). Some examples of the various types of infrastructure projects are sidewalk improvements, curb and gutter, crosswalks, raised crosswalks, multi-use paths, signage, bicycle storage sheds and bike racks. South Carolina created a Safe Routes to School Resource Center to handle all of the non-infrastructure components. The Safe Routes to School Resource Center helps schools, school districts and communities throughout South Carolina to build and sustain Safe Routes to School programs. Partners of the Resource Center receive technical assistance and program support at no cost. +Read more
Safe Routes to School News throughout the Country
Duluth, MN: $4 Million Up for Grabs to Create Safer Routes to School in Minnesota
Lumberton, NC: Taking Steps toward Better Health
Ocean Shores, WA: Receives Grant for Traffic Enforcement
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 600 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: