2024 Safe Routes to Parks Colorado Activating Communities


Safe Routes Partnership is excited to introduce the 2024 Safe Routes to Parks Colorado Activating Communities Grantees. These four organizations are based in communities that are representative of the geographic diversity of the state of Colorado. This will be the sixth cohort of communities in the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program.  

The four grantee communities will work closely with our staff to develop Safe Routes to Parks strategies that aim to improve safe, equitable access to local parks in each of their communities. Each grantee will receive individualized consultation, an in-person workshop in their community, and a $10,000 grant to begin implementing select strategies. Strategies include integrating Safe Routes to Parks and Safe Routes to School, piloting traffic calming solutions around parks, and applying for federal grants for long-term impact.

This program also is supported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado Department of Transportation as they work to advance park access throughout the state to increase park usage and improve health for all Coloradans.

2024 Grantees

Bike Jeffco Inc. | Wheat Ridge, CO

wheat ridge grantee

Last Fall, Wheat Ridge residents voted in favor of a half-cent sales tax to fund bicycle, pedestrian, and stormwater infrastructure improvements. Bike Jeffco Inc. and their partners want to use this opportunity to inform wise investment of these funds near and around parks, greenways, and trails. This planning process will prioritize areas and projects that can be funded by these local dollars.

PLAY Boulder Foundation | Boulder, CO

play boulder

Plans are underway to build a new park in the community of Boulder Meadows. This project is an opportunity to ensure that residents in the nearby mobile park homes have routes that safely connect them to this future park, along with the local school and surrounding area. The majority of residents are Spanish speakers. Other residents include people from Nepal as well as people experiencing disabilities. Partners will be working to ensure meaningful community engagement with these communities.

Safe Routes to School | Wellington, CO

wellington town


Safe Routes to School-Wellington is excited to work together with stakeholders to improve active transportation to parks, schools, and community services. They aim to make use of this opportunity to apply for federal funding to create more comprehensive and long-term plans that can prioritize projects and communities that are most affected by the lack of access to multi-modal opportunities.

Western Slope Conservation Center / The Nature Connection | Paonia, CO


In 2021, Panoia published its Parks and Recreation Master Plan. This effort found that two popular recreation areas, the Paonia River Park and the Jumbo Mountain Trail System, lacked safe pedestrian access and connectivity with the core residential areas of this small community. Their project will be to implement and pilot elements that will help to slow down cars, improve safety and access to these parks in particular for seniors, children, and people with disabilities.



  • Applicants must show a commitment to advancing racial and social equity
  • Applicants must be nonprofit organizations located in the state of Colorado that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and will be required to provide IRS documentation to receive the award
  • Commitment from local agencies (e.g. parks, planning, public works, and transportation agencies) to work together on improving safe, equitable park access will be necessary for this work. This commitment includes participation from a local agency staff on monthly technical assistance calls with Safe Routes Partnership and the grantee organization. A letter of commitment from your local parks and recreation, transportation, planning or public works agency, or city manager/mayor is required
  • Funding must be used to advance implementation of the Safe Routes to Parks plan and planning process, and shall not be used solely for salaries or contracted support


About the Program

The Safe Routes to Parks Colorado Activating Communities program provides hands-on coaching and planning assistance, along with a $10,000 award to four nonprofit organizations in the state of Colorado to develop and initiate an action-oriented strategy to make their local parks safer, accessible, and easier for people to get to by walking, biking, and rolling, especially in low-income communities and communities of color, where less investment has gone into the routes to and the amenities within parks. Safe Routes Partnership is looking to select communities located in areas across the state that have higher disparities in health outcomes, park access, and bicycle and pedestrian crashes to work to address these issues.

During the program, Safe Routes Partnership staff will assist grantee communities in advancing a single program strategy (see Program Strategies below) to address park access and build towards long-term goals of improving routes to/from local parks, greenways, and trails.  Grantees will proactively engage community members to identify and address barriers to park access and complete at least one early action during the program period that helps to advance one of the specific program strategies. Our team will help grantees use these early actions to achieve long-term outcomes that can include building new partnerships, working to advance policy change, and/or applying for project funding for future implementation.

Building upon Colorado’s state-level initiative to advance park access, the interagency team from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Colorado Department of Transportation are integral to supporting program participants. The state team will provide state-level perspective to inform local strategies, support program participants in finding funding, connect local communities with district contacts, and troubleshoot specific questions or challenges as needed. 

For each selected community, Safe Routes Partnership staff will facilitate an in-person, two-day workshop to advance their specific strategy by engaging with partners and community members on shared goals, priorities, resources, and actions to improve park access. At the end of the program, grantees will have a final action plan compiled by Safe Routes Partnership that documents the action plan process. This plan will also chart clear next steps and recommendations so that grantees sustain their efforts past the program period.  


Program Strategies

Safe Routes Partnership will prioritize applications from communities interested in working on one of the program strategies below to advance their Safe Routes to Parks work. Grantee organizations will spearhead one of these strategies in partnership with their local agencies and with coaching support from Safe Routes Partnership. While selected communities do not need to limit themselves to the options below, given the program period, we highly encourage applicants to identify an area of focus in their application.

  • Integrate Safe Routes to Parks into Safe Routes to School. The research-backed strategies that help get kids safely to and from school can be applied to improve access to local parks for all community members. Our team can support you in building on existing efforts for safe, accessible, and convenient routes to bike, walk, and roll by incorporating parks as another essential community destination under the safe routes umbrella. We can work together to identify ways to expand on programming that generate enthusiasm for biking and walking for students like Walk to School Days and bike education to connect to parks and grow community support for active travel; guide you on how to engage community members to assess and activate routes that help them connect to parks; and identify funding for improvements that address safety for people walking, wheelchair rolling, and biking. 
  • Install traffic gardens as a strategy to elevate park access needs. Traffic gardens are colorful installations that are captivating educational tools that help young kids learn how to safely navigate their community on wheels. They present an opportunity to build community partnerships with parks and recreation by repurposing asphalt or under-utilized courts and support programming that increases park use. Traffic gardens are a strategy to elevate park access issues and the community's desire for safe active travel options while growing the next generation of safe, predictable road users. We can support you with community engagement to build buy-in and assessment activities to measure impact. We can also strategize on how to use traffic gardens to demonstrate the need for safer walking, biking, and rolling connections to the park itself. We can also evaluate the impact of a traffic garden on park use.
  • Apply for federal transportation funds to sustain long-term planning. The timing of this program is opportunistically aligned with a historic influx of federal funding for projects that improve safety for people biking, walking, and rolling. We encourage communities to take advantage of these resources, and our team can assist interested communities in applying for next year’s round of Safe Streets for All planning grants, including demonstration projects. This grant opportunity through the U.S. Department of Transportation would allow communities to secure additional funds to develop comprehensive safety action plans, data collection, and safety demonstration projects. This is an opportunity to elevate community safety priorities into a plan that can then be implemented using state and other federal funds. The funding received through Safe Routes to Parks could be used toward the local match requirement for Safe Streets for All.
  • Pilot traffic calming zones around parks. One of the reasons people do not walk, bike, or roll to local destinations is vehicular traffic speed. This strategy aims to support local communities to slow traffic near parks using proven safety countermeasures. We can work with you to think through opportunities to make these street designs part of standard practice as proactive safety measures for locations where people will be walking, rolling, and biking. We can also work with you to help identify best practices for traffic calming, craft messaging to frame the opportunity for stakeholders, plan community engagement around the pilot project, and create an assessment plan to demonstrate impact.

Grant Funds and Early Actions

The grant of $10,000 must be used for the grantee to advance their specific Safe Routes to Parks strategy and towards the planning and implementation process (refer to the Program Strategies.) Grantees will be required to report on the expenditure of grant funds.

Below are examples of how grant funds can be used to advance specific program strategies:

Integrate Safe Routes to Parks into Safe Routes to School

two women painting a sidewalk

Specific Ways Funds Could Be Applied:

  • Hosting a Bike and Roll to School Day based in a park
  • Activating a route between a school and a park with wayfinding signage
  • Adding or improving physical infrastructure to a route between a park and a school either as a demonstration or permanent installation


Install traffic gardens as a strategy to elevate park access needs

children riding bikes in a traffic garden

Specific Ways Funds Could Be Applied:

  • Implementing a temporary or permanent traffic garden installation(s)
  • Any associated planning costs including community engagement, event programming to activate the park and draw in users for the traffic garden
  • Purchase of a bike fleet or bike repair services to improve community access


Apply for federal transportation funds to sustain long-term planning

bike audit

Specific Ways Funds Could Be Applied:

  • Grant funds can be applied as a match for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets for All planning grant
  • Community engagement and assessment activities to inform priorities – ex. walk audits, pop-up events, community surveys, etc.


Pilot traffic calming zones around parks

traffic calming lane

Specific Ways Funds Could Be Applied:

  • Pilot traffic calming measures around a park in the form of tactical urbanism pop-up or demonstration project
  • Evaluation to measure the effectiveness of treatments
  • Event planning and community programming to build support and solicit feedback



During this nine-month technical assistance period, grantees will be expected to:

  • Participate in monthly coaching calls with Safe Routes Partnership
  • Participate in two Safe Routes to Parks virtual trainings (total of 2.5 hours)
  • Lead community engagement and assessment activities prior to the action plan workshop with support from Safe Routes Partnership
  • Assist in planning a two-day, in-person workshop facilitated by and with support from Safe Routes Partnership staff
  • Work with Safe Routes Partnership staff to refine the final action plan report which our team will compile
  • Implement at least one early implementation action aligned with the selected program strategy 
  • Submit a brief final report that includes a summary of your early action (narrative should be no longer than two pages), a simple budget narrative that describes how you used the grant funds, and photos, media or other pieces that help to tell the story of your work.
  • Complete a pre and post-program questionnaire (the survey takes 10 minutes to complete) and participate in a 30-minute post-program exit interview.

Program Timeline

The program period and associated grant activities will be from January 8, 2024 to September 30, 2024. The following outlines the program timeline and a list of broad activities to be completed by the grantee organization with support from our team.

Because this is a short-term technical assistance award with funding to implement an activity from the action plan, historically, grantees working on aligned efforts have enjoyed greater success than organizations beginning this work from scratch.


Time Period


Tasks & Activities To Be Completed By Grantee


List of Community-Identified Priorities 

  • Two Safe Routes to Parks Trainings
  • Create list of relevant partners and stakeholders
  • Lead a community walk audit or other community-engaged assessment activity
  • Complete one additional engagement activity

April – May

Action Plan Workshop & Site Visit by Safe Routes Partnership

  • Conduct pre-workshop outreach with stakeholders
  • Provide feedback on the workshop agenda
  • Secure meeting location
  • Send workshop invitations and follow-up with invitees


Early Action Planning

  • Identify early actions that advance selected program strategy
  • Develop an implementation timeline
  • Continue to engage the community in early action(s)

August – September

Early Action Completed

Action Plan Finalized


  • Complete early implementation action
  • Provide feedback on the draft action plan
  • Submit final grant report and program evaluation


Safe Routes to Parks Background

Safe Routes to Parks is a movement to make great parks safer, accessible, and easier for people to access by walking, biking, and rolling, especially in low-income communities and communities of color, where less investment has gone into the routes to and the amenities within parks. The coronavirus pandemic and the latest chapter of the civil rights movement that characterized the last few years have simultaneously underscored the benefits of safe, accessible outdoor spaces and emphasized that racial equity must play a central role in Safe Routes to Parks and all active transportation advocacy. One element of a thriving, equitable community is that people can safely and conveniently access well-maintained, well-programmed parks and open spaces. Safe places to walk, bike, roll, and connect with nature directly contribute to a community’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.

Safe Routes Partnership, in collaboration with the National Recreation and Parks Association, developed the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework to guide advocates through the process of assessing park access, planning improvements, implementing changes, and sustaining the work. Engagement is at the center of that process. Community members, as the local experts on their neighborhoods, are essential to the process of project selection, design, and implementation. Partnering with community leaders acknowledges the wisdom and assets that communities hold and can be the first step toward rectifying past and ongoing injustices built into our communities by racist land use and capital investment policies and practices. These decisions and policies, whether they intended to marginalize people of color or did so by neglecting to engage the people affected by these decisions, have led to poor health outcomes; less access to safe, high-quality public spaces; decreased physical activity; and higher rates of traffic-related injuries and fatalities among low-income communities and communities of color. Collectively, we have the opportunity and responsibility to create conditions that enable all people to thrive, where residents can build on their communities’ strengths to address the changes they want to see, and public resources can support their vision. Over the long term, with increased safety and accessibility, Safe Routes to Parks seeks to increase park usage and improve health and well-being for people of all ages, races, abilities, and income levels.

Why Safe Routes to Parks Colorado Activating Communities?

In 2022-2023, Safe Routes Partnership led a brand-new, state-level Safe Routes to Parks technical assistance program. Colorado was one of the three states that participated in the inaugural cohort of the Safe Routes to Parks Accelerator Program with interagency collaboration from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado Department of Transportation. The 2024 Colorado Activating Communities Program will build on this work to advance park access throughout the state.  Read more about the Safe Routes to Parks Accelerator here.

Here are examples of previous Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities grantee accomplishments:


Applications will be accepted beginning October 2, 2023. Sign up for Safe Routes Partnership e-news to receive email alerts with more information about the 2023-24 program and application process.

Applications are closed.

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact parks@saferoutespartnership.org.

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