Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #107: January 2015
Safe Routes to School E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes Partnership (Safe Routes 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.
To receive future issues of E-News, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Celebrating Equity and Martin Luther King, Jr Day
- The Latest from Capitol Hill
- Walkability is Good for Health, Good for Cities, and Good for Schools
- New Resources for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities
- Ohio Passes Shared Use Law
- Poll Shows 74% Support Federal Funding for Walking and Bicycling
- In Case You Missed Our Last Webinar…
- News from the Field
- Highlighted Blogs
"We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity." – Martin Luther King, Jr
These words spoken by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr resonate particularly strongly this month as we celebrate Dr King’s birthday and reflect on events from the past year that indicate that youth of color still struggle to feel safe and respected on our streets. Children from communities of color and low-income communities are twice as likely to walk or bicycle to school as children from more affluent neighborhoods, yet those communities are the ones most in need of safe streets and infrastructure to protect children who walk and bicycle.
Whether it is our recent efforts to equip Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities with street scale and shared use tools, providing technical assistance to low-income communities and communities of color in over 40 cities, rural areas and reservations, launching the Equity Asset Map or launching the Shared Use Clearinghouse, the Safe Routes Partnership is determined to work hand in hand with community safety partners to make true advances to ensure that all children can walk, bicycle, play, and live safely in their neighborhoods.
A New Congress and a New State of the States Report
The 114th Congress will convene for the first time this week. And while there’s a long list of transportation priorities on the agenda, it’s unlikely that we will see serious movement on a surface transportation bill in the first few months, given the prioritization of an FAA bill. We will keep a close eye on Capitol Hill and update you as things begin to pick up.
Last month we released two new State of the State Reports with some very positive news to share, including the fact that $180 million has been announced by states for Safe Routes to School projects from MAP-21 funding. You can read both reports along with analysis on our State of the States report page.
Looking for solid evidence to convince decision makers that building walkable communities is a good idea? A recent articlehighlights that a growing body of research shows that building walkable communities leads to a wealth of other benefits for cities, from housing prices to public health to better air quality. Similarly, the benefits of walkable school districts go beyond kids' health and well being -- walkability is good for the district's bottom line, too. Read more here.
Over the past year, the Safe Routes Partnership has collaborated with the Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), an organization working to champion social justice and achieve parity and empowerment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. APPEAL works by supporting and mobilizing community-led movements through advocacy and leadership development on critical public health issues. As national and local conversations continue over the complexities of obesity, physical activity, and access in underserved and communities of color, the Safe Routes Partnership has developed four new tools to help Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian communities use street scale and shared use initiatives to address community needs.
- Making Our Communities Healthy Through Bicycling and Walking to School
- Safety and Health for All Ages: Safe Routes to School in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities
- What Is Shared Use? Supporting Health in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities
- Shared Use 101: The Nuts and Bolts of Improving Health Through Shared Use in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities
In December, Ohio lawmakers passed a shared use law that makes it easier for schools to open their gymnasiums, pools, playgrounds, running tracks, and athletic fields to the public to increase access to physical activity in their community. The bill eases liability concerns to give schools districts greater comfort in opening their facilities to the public.
“Clarifying liability issues provides better guidance for administrators when making decisions to open their properties for public recreational use, so kids, families and residents can be active close to home, especially in undeserved communities with few areas to play and be active," said Kate Moening, Safe Routes Partnership state advocacy organizer in Ohio. Read more.
A new poll for the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy finds that the vast majority of voters want to maintain or increase spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects. The poll of 1,000 people from both parties who are likely to vote in the 2016 election found that 43 percent want to keep bike/pedestrian spending as is, 31 percent want it to increase and 19 percent want a decrease.
Of those surveyed, 43 percent of potential voters said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who would cut such spending, 33 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference and 21 percent said they’re more likely to vote for such a candidate. Read more about the poll results here.
We know your schedule may have been busier than normal around the holidays, and it’s possible you missed our December webinars. Here’s a reminder that you can access audio-visual recordings and download Powerpoint slides from all of our previous webinars on our website. Our most recent webinars include:
Safe Routes to School as a Tool to Address Chronic Absenteeism
Complete Streets in the South
Bolstering Support for the Bay Area's Regional Safe Routes to School Program
In December, the staff from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Programming and Allocations Committee proposed extending the Regional Safe Routes to School (RSRTS) program by one year, but at half the funding ($2.7 million as opposed to the current annual allocation of $5 million) to respond to a shortfall in federal funds. Led by the Safe Routes Partnership, advocates weighed in that the RSTS is vital to support the health, safety, and education of children. Commissioners added that the RSTS helps MTC meet its adopted health, safety, and climate change goals. In the end, commissioners voted unanimously to direct MTC staff to make up the $2.3 million shortfall and present options for doing so to the commission within six months as part of a broader discussion of the next cycle of RSTS and One Bay Area Grant funding. More info.
School Health: Empowering Parents to Push for Change for Healthy Schools (Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools)
Three Charts for Protected Bike Lane Designers to Remember in 2015 (PeopleForBikes)
For more information, contact: