Senate Draft Transportation Bill Includes Key Improvements for Safe Routes to School

Matthew ColvinToday, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee released their draft bill reauthorizing MAP-21, which would fund our nation’s surface transportation programs for an additional six years.   Before the bill can come to the Senate floor for a vote, however, the Senate Finance Committee must complete the daunting task of shoring up the funding for our soon-to-be bankrupt Highway Trust Fund. 

A Tribute to Congressman Oberstar: Father of Safe Routes to School

It is with a very deep sadness and extremely heavy heart that the Safe Routes to School National Partnership mourns the passing of 79-year-old Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN from 1974-2010). His death was announced this morning through a statement from his family. Congressman Oberstar passed peacefully in his home in Maryland during his sleep; apparently he was not ill.

Innovative Ways to Share Space for Physical Activity

Mikaela RandolphDo you want to build a snowman? (Thanks to my six-year old daughter and Disney’s Frozen, I can’t keep this song out of my head.)  While snow play is a great winter activity, most of the country has had a brutal winter, and I imagine at this point your answer to that question is a resounding “NO.”  It's springtime now, and we’re all looking forward to having a little more fun in the sun.

San Francisco Leading the Way for Safety and a Better Environment

Last week, the same week as Earth Day, San Francisco celebrated their sixth annual Bike and Roll to School Week. It was one of a number of events in the Bay Area in the past few months that are working to improve the environment and safety in the Bay Area. 
 
SF bike
Photo: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
 

Administration Sends Transportation Bill to Congress

Matthew Colvin As we have discussed in previous posts, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the Highway Trust Fund will go bankrupt as early as mid-summer, while the current transportation bill, MAP-21, will expire shortly after in September.

A Complete Streets Win on New Jersey's Route 35

Nora ShepardIn April, we celebrate Earth Day. So much of what we do to at the National Partnership not only benefits health and wellness, but is also good for the environment.  I am using a BIG win in New Jersey as an example. 

Diving into the Research Around Getting Kids Outdoors

Jane WardRichard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder,” in his award winning book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. He recounts how children are spending progressively less time outdoors in free, unstructured play, and how wide-ranging the negative repercussions might be as children disconnect from the natural world.  

Coordinators Hit the Streets with Fire Up Your Feet

rosie mesterhazyKids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day to keep their heart and lungs healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Schools play a big role in encouraging active lifestyles for students of all ages, whether it’s walking and bicycling to school or being active at school and in the classroom.

New Transportation Tech: What’s in it for Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Advocates

UCLA Digital CitiesThe technologies drawing attention are user-centric that allow both users and providers to interact and share information about the transportation network. Active transportation and Safe Routes to Schools advocates should care about these trends because they are expanding transportation options, promoting active lifestyles and tipping the political scales towards multi-modalism in planning and implementation.The digital space is using the influx of information (i.e. big data) to find patterns and efficiencies in the transportation system. These mobile and web applications are facilitating supportive programs and policies for walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School, even when active transportation is not the immediate focus of mobile and web applications. Safe Routes to School supporters will be able to better partner with transportation agencies, organizations and advocates, if they stay alert to the culture changes that technology is causing within transportation.

First, I posit that ride and car-sharing services will bolster walkable and bikeable communities. I see many ways that students and families will be supported and encouraged to be car-free or car-limited with more reliable alternative networks, such as ride and car-share, cross jurisdictional bicycle and pedestrian networks and public transportation. Ridesharing mobile applications like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are booming and flipped the script on taxi and car services and local job creation. Users of ride share applications can name their price for trips with Lyft and benefit (or suffer) with surge pricing with Uber. Potentially communities benefits in the strengthening of ride and car-share through crowdsourcing affordability and flexibility. Paratransit riders - usually the elderly and persons with disability - are also frequent users of ride-shares. Additionally, car sharing companies like Zipcar allow drivers to rent a car by the hour, where prices include insurance and maintenance. Personally, I know families that would benefit from having better access to alternative networks to get children to school and after-school activities. One family in particular was forced to give up their car free lifestyle when the local Zipcar location was closed. These technologies are means to fill in the transportation gaps for communities and families.

USDOT Sidesteps Safety as Congress Focuses in on Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure

Matthew ColvinThere were two significant developments this month in Washington D.C for Safe Routes to School.  First, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released its proposed rule addressing safety on our roads.

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