State Network Update
Our state network project is thriving!
Coming into the end of our first year with full-time state advocacy organizers in seven states – CA, FL, MS, NC, NJ, OH and TN – the National Partnership, through generous funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has made great strides in developing advocacy partnerships and advancing policy change. Our overarching goal is to continue improving the built environment and advancing associated policy change, with an emphasis on serving lower-income communities to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. A sampling of our recent success includes:
- CA – Working with partners and key decision makers to ensure that opportunities for implementation of climate change legislation are addressed for bicycle and pedestrian projects within underserved communities around the state – read more at our CA Blog.
- MS – Working with a vast network of unified partners by advancing shared use agreements to fight obesity through a generational mind-set shift and lasting community participation – read more at our MS Blog.
- NC – Working with the NCDOT as they make incredible advances in funding and policy support to sustain and grow the Safe Routes to School Programs – read more at our NC Blog.
- TN – Working with the TDOT and state partners to maintain momentum for Safe Routes to School programs and looking forward to promising future with TDOT now accepting applications for the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) with all $18 million received for TAP activities from the Federal Highway Administration remaining for funding of bicycle and pedestrian projects – read more at our TN Blog.
Stay tuned for continued success in 2013!
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, OHand 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 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.
Shared Use – Breaking out all over
Shared use agreements are one of the National Partnership’s three primary policy priorities for our Robert Wood Johnson policy work in states. Our state advocacy organizers are doing a lot of work on shared-use agreements in our seven network states. Click here for a sampling.
Acting on Action Plans
The state network project’s advocacy organizers have been hard at work on many tasks, and they just completed one of the most critical - the action plans. Each of the network states has prepared its own action plan that is being presented to their respective networks for comment and adoption. The action plans are public, living documents that are reviewed and revised regularly. The plans serve as an important tool for the state advocacy organizer to get stakeholders and other interested people to the table, providing for a focused dialogue on starting a collaboration process. From there they can get into the details of policy change. +Read more
My How You’ve Grown
Several blog posts have been written about how the state network project is doing. The size and influence of the network and its partners continues to grow and develop nicely. The Mississippi network, for example, is putting together a group of organizations that are focusing on serving lower-income communities in Jackson. The goal is to increase safety for bicyclists and walkers and to reduce crime. Safe Routes to School can improve a neighborhood’s built environment and allow kids to do what kids love to do.
We are also finding shared use agreements are flourishing and state legislatures are passing laws to address liability concerns schools frequently have. Working with our partners, we are getting the word out that Mississippi and Tennessee recently passed such laws, and promoting the benefits of shared use agreement for increased physical activity. There are lots more examples of how the networks are developing. Want to join the family? Contact the National Partnership’s advocacy organizer in your state. +Read more
Flying around for Safe Routes to School
Attending state network meetings in person is really inspirational. Doing that in June in North Carolina with Terry Lansdell, our NC advocacy organizer, and in Ohio with our advocacy organizer, Kate Moening, did not disappoint. One meeting had more than 35 attendees, the other more than 45. This says a lot about the great work of our advocacy organizers in those states, particularly since they are new network states. While the backgrounds of the attendees differed some between the two states, it was obvious they couldn’t get enough of Safe Routes to School! There is so much high energy and effective Safe Routes to School programs and projects going on around the country, and we’re pleased that these groups are joining together to advance the state network project. +Read more
State Network Running Strong
Our state advocacy organizers began in early March and we are very happy to report that they are running strong. Besides making key contacts in their states, including some that are players on the national scene, they are being invited to sit on a variety of influential state level committees. They are starting monthly network meetings with diverse partners, and are preparing state action plans with a focus on built environment policies that result in award and obligation of Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements (TE) funding, Complete Streets policies and shared use agreements, all through the lens of serving lower-income schools and communities. Learn more here every month and follow our blog posts. +Read more
State Network Project 3.0
Since its inception in January 2007, the state network project, primarily funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has provided positive impacts to Safe Routes to School programs, policies and projects in every state and Washington, DC. So follow us as our full-time staff in our seven participating states focus on three policy priorities and affect major changes. Even if you aren’t in one of these states, there will be a lot to see and learn to implement where you live to bring about the permanent change we all want – a healthier future for everyone. You can also review our prior successes through this 2010-2011 final report. + Read more.
State Network Report Released: Report includes policy successes, lessons learned and local success stories
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s state network project brings together state leaders to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to and from school. We write to share with you the National Partnership’s 2010-2011 report, entitled: Safe Routes to School State Network Project Final Report, 2010-2011: Phase II - Successes and Lessons Learned, which includes policy successes, lessons learned and local success stories that were a result of policy changes led by the 20 state network coalitions.
Key policy wins from each of the 19 network states and the District of Columbia included improvements to state Safe Routes to School programs that increased award and obligation rates for local community grant recipients and lower-income communities, policies creating street-scale improvements for walking and bicycling, school siting and shared use agreements, supporting lower-income communities and improving personal safety. State networks influenced the distribution of more than $100 million in Safe Routes to School funds.
This report was written by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a national network of more than 550 organizations. The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health foundation. Originally launched in 2007 in 10 states, the project supported networks during 2010 and 2011 in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Collectively, the 20 state networks engaged more than 900 partner organizations and agencies as active participants in improving the built environment and increasing physical activity for children, with a focus on serving lower-income communities. The networks each made substantial improvements to transportation policies and funding allocations, safety, land use, the environment and public health. In some states, networks were the first statewide group to address particular policy issues.