January 2012

Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #73: January 2012

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 550 organizations, government agencies, schools and professional groups that are partner affiliates. 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.

The Safe Routes Partnership is on Facebook and Twitter. Join us!

To receive future issues of E-News, email info@saferoutespartnership.org.

In this issue:

1. Kaiser Permanente Continues to Fund Regional Network Project

2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Renews Funding for Safe Routes Partnership

3. The Safe Routes Partnership Hires Five New Staff Members

4. Safe Routes Partnership’s Federal Update

5. Thanks to All Who Contributed Through Our Annual Appeal

6. Take Part in the Saris 2012 Fifth Grade National Poster Contest

7. RFP now available for Local Sustainability Matching Fund

8. Arizona Safe Routes to School Continues Focus on Planning Assistance

9. New Mexico Safe Routes to School Update

10. Safe Routes to School News Throughout the Country

1. Kaiser Permanente Continues to Fund Regional Network Project
Project poised to make major impacts in 2012-2013

We are pleased to share that Kaiser Permanente has provided ongoing support to the Safe Routes Partnership in 2012 and 2013 through grants totaling $1,070,017. The funding will support expansion of the regional network project, which is poised to make major impacts in the coming two years.

The regional network project launched in 2010 with support from Kaiser Permanente in the areas of Southern California (Southern California Association of Governments--SCAG), the Greater Washington DC Area (Metropolitan Washington Council of Government--MWCOG) and in the Atlanta Region (Atlanta Regional Commission--ARC). We are excited to be able to deepen our work in these regions with full time staff, and to bring our efforts to the San Francisco Bay Area (Metropolitan Transportation Commission). In Southern California, we now have two full time staff working on the Kaiser Permanente project. See article #3 below for more specifics on our new staff.

Right now, the regional transportation plans in the Bay Area and Southern California are being revised, and the Safe Routes Partnership’s policy managers are working to make active transportation and Safe Routes to School more significant elements in these plans. In the Washington, DC metropolitan region, the policy manager will be working in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC, capitalizing on efforts to promote Safe Routes to School and active transportation, in general, throughout the region.

Specific goals of the regional network project include:

  • Working to leverage additional resources for walking and bicycling initiatives through the regional and local policies and plans such as Regional Transportation Plans;
  • Getting transportation infrastructure built that will improve physical activity among students;
  • Ensuring that federal Safe Routes to School funds are spent on quality projects;
  • Advocating to remove barriers for walking and bicycling by children through various policy initiatives, including Complete Streets; and
  • Sharing information and best practices nationwide about strategies for increasing funding and policies to promote bicycling and walking through regional advocacy.

For more information on the regional network, please visit www.saferoutespartnership.org/local/RNP and get involved in your region.

2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Renews Funding for Safe Routes Partnership
State network project will help create thousands of miles of sidewalks and bike paths

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has provided a three-year renewal grant of $2,999,725 to the Safe Routes Partnership. The grant will build on policy wins from recent years, and advance built environment improvements in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This project will result in thousands of more miles of sidewalks and bike paths, traffic-calming projects and safer street crossings, and will enable many more students to benefit from Safe Routes to School. The project will focus on supporting communities with high rates of childhood obesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is leading national efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. This grant contributes toward that goal, and has four main elements:

  1. Helping all states to increase the award and obligation of federal Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funds, resulting in the construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities nationwide, particularly in lower-income communities;
  2. Developing a national learning network to share best practices among advocates for advancing street-scale improvements, such as sidewalks and pathways and joint-use agreements that develop opportunities for cities and schools to collaborate on creating safe places for kids to play and engage in healthy physical activity;
  3. Advancing state-level policy reform in seven states (Calif., Fla., Miss., N.C., N.J., Ohio, and Tenn.) which will result in the award and obligation of federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements and joint-use agreements. The seven states were selected based on need and their capacity to succeed with the program goals; and
  4. Publication of two policy reports highlighting the importance of the built environment in relation to improving health.

Submit your application today for one of the state advocacy organizer positions. The Safe Routes Partnership is looking for energetic and dynamic professionals to serve as a state advocacy organizer (one per state) in Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. The application deadline is February 2, 2012. Click here for the full job announcement. California also maintains a state advocacy organizer position. A call for application for the California advocacy organizer position (Sacramento Region) will be issued separately later this year.

The Safe Routes Partnership looks forward to expanding our efforts through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s generous support.

3.The Safe Routes Partnership Hires Five New Staff Members
Help us welcome our newest staff and congratulate current staff on new roles

The Safe Routes Partnership recently hired five new staff members thanks to the generous support of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. Please join us in welcoming the following new staff members and in congratulating our current staff members who shifted gears to continue their support of the state and regional network projects in new ways.

Kristine Kessel has been hired by the Safe Routes Partnership as our new network director, and is managing the state and regional network projects and learning networks for the states and regions. Prior to joining the Safe Routes Partnership, Kristine worked for more than 20 years as a civil engineer in the environmental consulting field for some of the largest environmental consulting firms in New Jersey. She is also a certified teacher of mathematics and technology education.

Robert Ping is now technical assistance director, working to help states leverage Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funding to create street scale improvements for walking and bicycling in underserved communities in all 50 states and DC. He will manage the national learning network and provide technical assistance and training for organizations and communities implementing programs and policies that will increase walking and bicycling to school and in daily life. Robert was formerly the Safe Routes Partnership’s state network director from 2007-2011, supervising 20 state policy networks, three regional policy networks and five Safe Routes to School programs, and providing technical assistance to communities and organizations.

Stephanie Weber is now our regional network manager (supervising our regional policy staff) and Kathy Cooke is now our network coordinator.

San Francisco Bay Area Region

Martin Martinez, MPP
, Bay Area regional policy manager, worked as the policy director for the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network before joining the Safe Routes Partnership, and brings a strong background in cultural competency, joint-use of public facilities, the built environment and creating healthy communities.

Southern California Region

Pauline Chow, Esq
., Southern California regional policy manager, joins us with a background as a data expert with stints in database programming and business strategy consulting before focusing on social justice in a variety of roles and eventually shifting gears to the bicycle and pedestrian movement.

Rye Baerg
, Southern California regional policy manager, worked for both the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning before joining the Safe Routes Partnership. Rye was the winner of the “2011 Government Worker of the Year” award from Streetsblog Los Angeles.

Washington, DC Region

Christine Godward Green, Washington, DC regional policy manager, is a planner who has been working to create healthier communities for more than seven years. She worked as the Healthy Places Coordinator at Columbus Public Health and most recently at the National Complete Streets Coalition.

For each of our new staff member’s full bios and contact information, click here.

4. Safe Routes Partnership’s Federal Update
Signs point to transportation bill progress in coming months

In mid-December, before departing for the holidays, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation moved forward on several transportation-related bills under its jurisdiction. During Committee consideration, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) offered an amendment on safety for all users. After accepting a change from Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Committee accepted the amendment unanimously. The amendment directs the Secretary of Transportation to set standards to ensure safe accommodation for motorized and non-motorized users in federally-funded road projects. States that already had their own safe accommodation policies in place could receive a waiver allowing their own policies to stand. This amendment is a big step forward in planning and designing safer transportation systems for everyone—including those who walk and bicycle—and is a victory for Complete Streets.

The Senate Commerce Committee action means that one more small step has been taken that is necessary before a full transportation bill could move to the Senate floor. The Senate Banking Committee must still consider the transit-related provisions.  And, most critically, the Senate Finance Committee still needs to identify a funding source to cover the shortfall in the highway trust fund. While a number of funding options have reportedly been identified, it is unclear whether any of those options are acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans. Over the holidays, Senate Majority Leader Reid was quoted as saying he wants to move a transportation bill as soon as possible. However, the Senate schedule is such that February would be the earliest that action could happen.

In the House, there is still a great deal of interest in moving a transportation bill quickly, but again, February seems the earliest possible time. But, there are still a lot of competing priorities—including the State of the Union, a longer-term fix for the payroll tax extension and resolution on the long overdue Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill—that could hold things up.

The current transportation extension expires March 31, so the next few months must see a flurry of activity if we are to avoid another extension. Whether a transportation bill does move forward before the extension deadline, it is still critical to continue our collective efforts to educate Members of Congress about the benefits of Safe Routes to School. We encourage you to be thinking now of upcoming spring launch events for your Safe Routes to School program—and make sure you invite your Senators and Representatives to attend!  See our ideas on what you can do to help sustain federal funding for Safe Routes to School. And, if you can, we’d love to see you at the National Bike Summit, where hundreds of people will be lobbying for sustained funding for bicycling and walking.

5. Thanks to All Who Contributed Through Our Annual Appeal
A heartfelt thanks to all who contributed

Thanks to everyone who made a contribution to our year-end annual appeal. We raised several thousand dollars from individuals passionate about Safe Routes to School which helps us to advance federal lobbying and general support efforts, which cannot be funded through foundation grant dollars. Combined with support from our Steering Committee members, we raised a record amount during our annual appeal (yet about two thousand short of our goal of $10,000).

Your support and kind words inspire our team to do more every day to create safer streets, improve the built environment in communities and promote physical activity for children and their families.

“The Safe Routes Partnership’s leadership has meant the world for thousands of kids who are able to live healthier, happier lives”. Mia Birk, President Alta Planning and Design

We look forward to continuing our work with you and our growing number of partner affiliates in 2012! Thanks again.

6. Take Part in the Saris 2012 Fifth Grade National Poster Contest
Entries are due by March 1

With spring around the corner, it is a great opportunity to get fifth grade students thinking about the bicycle as a way of getting places (for fun or for transportation). Saris has announced their popular poster contest and is looking for state coordinators in every state to coordinate school participation.

To learn how you can become a coordinator in your state, how to get more involved and the official contest rules please visit: www.sariscyclinggroup.com/index.php/poster-contest.html.

There are many great prizes for the student winners: each state will have three winners (1st, 2nd and 3rd) with the first place winner receiving a bicycle, light and helmet. Plus, there will be one national winner who will also receive a three day all-expense paid trip (for two) to Washington, DC for the 2013 National Bike Summit. The winners will be selected by a panel of individuals from the bicycling industry. The winning national school will receive ten branded bike docs (bike parking for 20 bicycles) and the Hub system, an active transportation tracking system. Questions and information inquiries should be directed to Heather Fortune.

7. RFP now available for Local Sustainability Matching Fund
Deadline is March 5, 2012

In partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Funders' Network is pleased to announce the formation of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund. The Fund has been created with leadership support from four Network members: the Kendeda Fund, the New York Community Trust, the Summit Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.

The purpose of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund is twofold: to catalyze partnerships between local government sustainability directors and local, place-based foundations, including community foundations, and to advance important community-based sustainability initiatives. The Fund will provide partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundation. The Network anticipates that the Fund will support up to ten partnership projects in the first year in two rounds in the spring and fall of 2012.

The application deadline for the first round is March 5, and you may download the Request for Proposals here. Applications must be submitted in MS Word and use the application Cover Sheet. The Network will host a conference call to provide more information on the fund and review the selection criteria. The call will be held on January 24, at 2pm eastern, and you may register for the call by clicking here.

A selection committee comprised of foundation representatives and urban sustainability directors will make selection decisions on behalf of the matching fund, and awards will be announced on May 5, 2012. For more information on the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, please contact Ann Wallace at ann@fundersnetwork.org or (617) 524-9239.

8. Arizona Safe Routes to School Continues Focus on Planning Assistance
Cycle 6 funds totaling $5.5 million to be announced in 2012

The Arizona Safe Routes to School program continues to focus additional efforts on providing planning assistance for new, in-need and tribal communities. In the sixth cycle of their Planning Assistance Program (PAP), they awarded support to two rural communities. They also awarded Tribal Planning Assistance Program (TPAP) support to the Hualapai Tribe, whose lands overlook the Grand Canyon.  Both PAP and TPAP awards consist of multi-day consultant site visits, community team meetings, a walking site assessment, walking/bicycling barrier identification and a custom school route travel plan.

In 2011, Cycle 5 projects awarded included eight infrastructure and 13 non-infrastructure projects.  $12.5 million in Safe Routes to School funding has been awarded since the inception of the program.

The application deadline for $5.5 million in Cycle 6 funds totaling $5.5 million was December 30, 2011. Applications will be reviewed and ranked in March 2012, and the State Transportation Board will approve them in May 2012 with projects/programs beginning in approximately September 2012.

Arizona Safe Routes to School’s Active School Neighborhood Checklist (ASNC) also celebrates its first complete year of operation. Forty schools from across the country have joined 25 Arizona schools in completing this valuable online exercise that quantifies and scores built environment and program/policy barriers to student physical activity. They’re beginning to create ASNC Version 2.0, adding valuable user output reports covering school and parent transportation costs, environmental effects, and infrastructure cost estimates associated with existing and proposed schools. You, too, can access the ASNC at www.activeschoolchecklist.com. (If you’re outside of Arizona click ‘Not on the list?’)

For more information on the projects and programs funded by the Arizona Safe Routes to School program, please visit the Arizona Safe Routes to School website or contact Brian Fellows, Safe Routes to School coordinator at bfellows@azdot.gov or at (602) 712-8010.

9. New Mexico Safe Routes to School Update
$3 million programmed for infrastructure projects for distribution in 2012

In the past five years, the New Mexico Safe Routes to School program has provided more than $2.6 million to local communities for both non-infrastructure activities and infrastructure projects. An additional $3 million is programmed for infrastructure projects in communities around the state and will be distributed over the next year.

On October 31, 2011, the City of Carlsbad broke ground on the first infrastructure project constructed with Safe Routes to School funds in New Mexico. The groundbreaking for a section of new sidewalk to Monterrey Elementary School is one of the many improvements the city is constructing around five schools using a $250,000 funding award from the New Mexico Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School program. The city received the award to implement projects, including sidewalks, flashers, signage and crosswalks, identified in the local Safe Route to School Action Plan.

The Town of Silver City, NM, also received a $250,000 infrastructure award from the New Mexico Safe Routes to School program and is using the funds to install a pedestrian bridge across an arroyo behind Jose Barrios Elementary School. The new bridge will replace a very old and unsafe bridge currently used by students walking to the school, and will be located further upstream to provide better access to the school, as well as to a public garden and historical Town property.

Both communities also received $25,000 non-infrastructure awards for educational and encouragement activities, including walking school bus programs. The communities of Alamogordo, Corrales, Deming, Farmington, Hobbs and Mesilla also each received a $25,000 non-infrastructure award and are programmed to receive infrastructure funding as well.

For more information on the projects and programs funded by the New Mexico Safe Routes to School program, please visit the national Safe Routes to School state project list at http://apps.saferoutesinfo.org/project_list/ or contact the New Mexico Safe Routes to School coordinator, Jessica Griffin, at Jessica.Griffin@state.nm.us or at (505) 476-2155.

10. Safe Routes to School News throughout the Country
Local and state SRTS program news links

Safe Routes to School news around the country keeps growing! Updated regularly, see our new Safe Routes to School in the News media center for the latest in local, state, and national SRTS news.

Help Grow the Safe Routes Partnership!

Joining the Safe Routes Partnership is free. Please encourage other organizations, schools, businesses, and government agencies to join the Safe Routes Partnership, a network of more than 550 organizations and agencies.

for the Safe Routes Partnership has been generously provided by the Bikes Belong Coalition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kaiser Permanente, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SRAM Cycling Fund, individuals and partner affiliates.

For more information, contact:

Brooke Driesse, Communications Manager
Safe Routes Partnership