July 2012

Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #78: July 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 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.

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. Moving Forward on Safe Routes to School

2. The Latest from Capitol Hill

3. Safe Routes Partnership’s 2011 Annual Report Now Available

4. Sign Up for Pro Walk Pro Bike and Our Free Annual Meeting

5. State Network Project News

6. Regional Network Project News

7. Register Today for Free Economic Benefits of Safe Routes to School Webinar

8. Help Us Welcome Our Newest Staff

9. Highlighted Blogs

10. Featured States

1. Moving Forward on Safe Routes to School
What’s next is up to all of us

Since Congress released their new MAP-21 transportation bill two weeks ago, which eliminated dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School and leaves most of the decision making for active transportation up to states and locals, people have been asking “what’s next?”

The reality is -- “what’s next” is up to all of us. 

Here’s the good news.  Everything that has been eligible for the past seven years for Safe Routes to School is still eligible under the new Transportation Alternatives program.  However, we now have to compete for this funding with other projects and many decisions will be made at the state and local levels.  This new system goes into effect on October 1; until then your state continues to receive funding for the current Safe Routes to School program. + Read more

2. The Latest from Capitol Hill
Congress enacts transportation bill; Safe Routes to School takes a hit

On June 29, both the House and Senate passed the new transportation bill, MAP-21, and President Obama signed the bill on July 6. Unfortunately, the final provisions in the bill are detrimental to Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. There are significant cuts in funding, and Safe Routes to School projects will have to compete against other bicycling, walking and some kinds of transportation projects in the new “Transportation Alternatives” program. While this is difficult news, it is only a two-year bill, giving us an opportunity in the near future to rectify these challenges. And, most states still have Safe Routes to School funds available to award and obligate. We’ll all need to work hand-in-hand to ensure that every state continues to fund Safe Routes to School projects. On our website, you can find additional details, including: our statement on the bill, the impact specific to Safe Routes to School and an analysis comparing current law with the new law from America Bikes.

3. Safe Routes Partnership’s 2011 Annual Report Now Available
Safe Routes to School is helping communities to make the healthy choice an easy choice

We are pleased to share the Safe Routes Partnership’s 2011 Annual Report, showing how the Safe Routes Partnership is creating safer streets and routes, improving communities and promoting physical activity for children and their families all across America. The Annual Report shows our work focused on four main strategies – federal advocacy, state and regional policy change, local technical assistance, and engaging families and sharing best practices – and how we are continuing to catalyze and lead the Safe Routes to School movement nationwide. +Read more

4. Sign Up for Pro Walk Pro Bike and Our Free Annual Meeting
Early registration extended to July 12

Our free 2012 Annual Meeting is taking place Monday, September 10 from 1-5pm in conjunction with the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® conference in Long Beach, CA. We invite you to come and learn how to sustain your Safe Routes to School program with ideas for securing new funding at the state, regional and local levels, get a timely federal update and attend one of our ever-popular breakout groups. And, great news, Pro Walk Pro Bike extended early registration to July 12, so register today!

There will also be ample time to network with fellow Safe Routes to School enthusiasts at both the Annual Meeting and our Safe Routes Social taking place immediately after from 5-6pm. You won't want to miss either of these two great (and free) events! Register for the Annual Meeting at the same time that you register for the Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference. If you are interested in attending just the Safe Routes Partnership’s Annual Meeting, walk-in registration will be available or you can email Brooke Driesse to be added to the list. +Read more

5. State Network Project News
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

6. Regional Network Project News
Building partnerships and integrating health & transportation

One great benefit of the regional network project is success in building partnerships to accomplish policy change. This is certainly not a new concept in the policy world; however, we have found significant opportunities to build and strengthen these partnerships at the regional level. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a group of six diverse organizations recently joined the Safe Routes Partnership on an issue that has the ability to impact recent gains in the recently-adopted Regional Transportation Plan. Read more here

7. Register Today for Free Economic Benefits of Safe Routes to School Webinar
July 26 at 2pm eastern

On July 26 the Safe Routes Partnership is hosting a free webinar on How Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Can Improve the Economies of Local Communities. In this webinar, our expert speakers will discuss how bicycling and walking can boost local economies, how bicycling and walking saves communities money and specific research on the topic. For more info and to register today, click here!

8. Help Us Welcome Our Newest Staff
Safe Routes Partnership hires CA and TN advocacy organizers

The Safe Routes Partnership recently hired two new staff members as advocacy organizers in California and Tennessee to support our Safe Routes to School state network project thanks to the generous support of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Our state advocacy organizers are focused on advancing policies that will result in the award and obligation of federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements and joint-use agreements which benefit children, particularly in lower income communities. Please join us in welcoming Jeanie Ward-Waller, California advocacy organizer, and Christy Smith, Tennessee advocacy organizer, and reach out to get involved in your state.

9. Highlighted Blogs
Check out some recent blogs from Safe Routes Partnership staff

Partner Powers: New Jersey
Tell Me A Story, Not A Statistic

10. Featured States
Highlighting Connecticut and Ohio

The Connecticut Safe Routes to School program is making progress in providing safe walking and bicycling improvements around schools and communities. The Safe Routes to School infrastructure program just recently completed its fourth funding cycle, awarding more than $3 million in funding. Six awarded projects will benefit nine schools in six communities around the state with improvements such as sidewalk installation, bike lanes, multiuse paths, school zone signs and pavement markings. +Read more

On May 30, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced their 2012 Safe Routes to School program awards, funding 68 projects in 48 communities, totaling more than $16 million dollars. An additional 19 communities have been awarded funds for school travel plan development. This is the highest amount of funding the Ohio program has distributed at one time. For a complete award list, click here. +Read more

Safe Routes to School News throughout the Country
Arizona DOT Funds $4.5 Million in Projects
Birmingham, AL: New Sidewalks and Crosswalks to Make School Route Safer
Lansing, MI: Principal Gets Kids Exercising to Learn

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 600 organizations and agencies.

Funding 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