Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #91: September 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:
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month, which in recent decades has been the time to reflect on sobering statistics, like the fact that between 1971 and 2008, the rate of childhood obesity among children age 6 to 11 rose from 4.2 percent to 19.6 percent. But this year, we have more reason to be optimistic. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that obesity rates among preschoolers fell in 19 states and US territories. This is the first time that an official government report has shown a reversal in the upward rates of childhood obesity since the 1970s.
The national effort to reverse childhood obesity is making true progress and this should be commended. But we must increase our collective efforts to press policy makers and elected officials to prioritize programs like Safe Routes to School, shared use agreements, and street scale improvements that address the intersecting needs of street safety, physical activity, violence prevention and education. Read more.
As Congress is in recess for the month of August, Capitol Hill has been quiet since our last update. However, the US Department of Transportation is planning for the future and seeks input on their draft strategic plan for FY2014-2018. We are pleased to see bicycle and pedestrian safety called out with specific action steps, but we believe a stronger emphasis and accountability must be put into this section, since bicycle and pedestrian deaths now represent 16 percent of all traffic fatalities. The livable communities section has commendable language highlighting how the lack of coordination between transportation and land-use has created auto-centric communities and declines in walking and bicycling to school and negative health impacts for Americans—but this section could use stronger performance goals.
Read our latest federal policy blog for more details on our reaction and input, and then take a few moments to visit the USDOT online dialog to provide your own input and vote for other helpful comments.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Voices for Healthy Kids: Active Places initiative is seeking applications from organizations and communities in need of technical assistance to support campaign efforts related to shared use agreements and street scale improvements. Campaign efforts may include passing Complete Streets policies, securing funding for shared use agreements, and ensuring that MAP-21 funding at the state and regional levels supports walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School. Technical assistance comes in the form of our staff time and can range from providing resources, to assisting with the creation of campaign plans and platforms, to providing communications strategies and coaching to ensure a successful campaign.
For more information and application instructions, click here. The deadline for applications is October 18, 2013.
Voices for Healthy Kids is a new collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.
It’s time to fire up your feet for International Walk to School Day! If you’re looking for resources to start or enhance an event at your school, make Fire Up Your Feet your first stop for tips, information, and support for joining the movement for healthy, active schools. You can register to track activity during the month October, sign up for one of our free webinars or watch our short instructional videosto learn the basics of encouraging your family and school to be healthy and physically active with Fire Up Your Feet. Don’t forget to register your school’s event on the official Walk to School Daywebsite.
If you're a member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation or Let's Move Active Schools, don’t miss the upcoming webinar "Ready, Set, Go and Keep Going" cohosted with Fire Up Your Feet on September 17. More information coming soon!
At the 2013 Walking Summit taking place in Washington DC, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in discussions on topics such as safe routes to transit, navigating MAP-21, technical resources to quantify and improve walkability, building partnerships to win local funding for walking, and more. A variety of walking tours will highlight local innovations in creating walking-friendly communities to provide context for conversations about promoting walking across the country. Registration is only $225 and includes some meals. Register to attend the Walking Summit here.
Our monthly technical assistance webinar series features expert speakers, a chat feature for participants, and archived downloadable post-webinar recordings. Join us in September for:
Authentic Middle School Youth Engagement in Safe Routes to School
September 5th, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern - Register here
Successfully engaging middle school youth in Safe Routes to School projects and programs can prove challenging for advocates, facilitators, teachers and after school programs alike. This webinar will provide an overview for working with middle school youth and look at programs and practices that have effectively and authentically engaged youth in active transportation efforts around their schools.
Voices for Healthy Kids: Active Places Let’s Get Moving to Help Underserved Communities
September 26th, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern - Register here
Childhood obesity affects the entire country, but it does not affect all communities equally. Children and all people living in underserved communities are likely to face greater challenges in reversing patterns of inactivity and poor health. In this webinar, we will explain our new role leading the Active Places Hub and how we can support you to win campaigns at the state and local level that will increase shared use agreements and street scale improvements.
This August, Memphis, Tennessee was honored by the National Complete Streets Coalition for adopting the Nation's 500th Complete Streets Policy. Congratulations to our partner affiliate, the National Complete Streets Coalition, and thanks to all advocates working to catalyze support for healthy community design through effective Complete Streets policies. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership's Tennessee Network sent a letter to Mayor Wharton of Memphis, congratulating him on the honor and for leading the efforts for Complete Streets in Memphis: “The Complete Streets policy adds to a growing list of achievements that are making Memphis more active and healthier including: bike lanes on 51 miles of city streets during the last two years, 15 miles of protected "green lanes" that will be added in the next two years and a two-way protected cycle track project that will connect Overton Park to the Shelby Farms Greenline, to name a few.” Read the entire letter on our blog.
We Cannot Walk Alone: Reflections on 50 Years Since the March on Washington (Keith Benjamin)
Safe Routes to School Advocacy Day a Success – Voices Heard Loud and Clear in the California State Capitol (Tricia Hedahl)
In December 2012, Governor Walker announced approval of approximately $3,388,573 in Safe Routes to School awards, which will assist 17 Wisconsin communities with Safe Routes to School projects in 2013. Of the 17 projects, five are for planning purposes, while 12 are for infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements to support existing Safe Routes to School programs. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation tentatively plans to begin the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) awards cycle by October 2013. See the WisDOT website for more information.
For more information, contact: