May 2015


Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #111: May 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.

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

  1. Sharing Three New Resources for Rural Communities
  2. Latest from Capitol Hill
  3. #MoveinMay: Spring Into Action This Bike Month With Fire Up Your Feet!
  4. Partner Highlight: National School Plan Management Association
  5. Save the Date: When Safe Routes to School Meets Violence Prevention Webinar
  6. American Heart and Encourage Leaders to Get Out Their Bikes
  7. News from the Field
  8. Highlighted Blogs

1. Sharing Three New Resources for Rural Communities 

In partnership with Safe Routes to School practitioners in rural communities around the country, we’ve developed three new factsheets to help overcome obstacles and get rural dwellers the health benefits of walking and bicycling. The first provides an introduction to Safe Routes to School, highlighting why Safe Routes to School is so good for rural communities (Rural Communities: Making Safe Routes Work).  The second delves into the challenges of Safe Routes to School in rural areas, and highlights successful rural programs and the innovative approaches they’ve used to overcome hurdles (Rural Communities: Best Practices and Promising Approaches for Safe Routes).  The third takes on rural active transportation generally, setting out an approach for how rural communities can support walking and bicycling more broadly (Rural Communities: A Two Pronged Approach for Improving Walking and Bicycling).

Rural communities can be great places for walking and bicycling – but they require some different techniques than urban or suburban communities.  These factsheets help rural families enjoy bicycling and walking on those lovely calm streets, while assisting in developing strategies for overcoming the challenges that may be there too.

2. The Latest from Capitol Hill

Momentum builds for Transportation Alternatives bill

Congress will have to act in the next few weeks to extend current transportation law into July or even through the end of the year.  This gives us more time to continue to talk with Congressional offices about the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which is a critical source of funding for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking. 

In the month since Senators Cochran (R-MS) and Cardin (D-MD) introduced S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, thousands of individuals have asked their Senators to support the bill.  And, 44 national organizations have stepped forward to support TAP—because of health, accessibility, safety, economic benefits and more.  Learn more about the legislation and our national partners in our latest federal policy blog.

Between national partners and local voices, momentum is growing for S. 705.  If you haven’t done so yet, please take a few minutes to ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705.

3. #MoveInMay: Spring Into Action This Bike Month with Fire Up Your Feet

Olympian Allyson Felix shouts out bicycling and Fire Up Your Feet

It’s not too late to sign up for the Fire Up Your Feet Spring Challenge taking place through May in select states and regions. It’s a perfect way to celebrate bike month! Fire Up Your Feet helps students, families and school staff make small lifestyle changes that can yield big rewards in terms of overall health. More than $100,000 in awards will be given out nationally to support active schools, including a PeopleForBikes challenge award. This $500 award will go to the top three schools nationally with the highest percentage of participants tracking bicycle activity. Not in a participating region? No problem, you can still use our all of our resources.

Also, check out this blog from Allyson Felix, six-time U.S. Olympic Track & Field Medalist and President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition member challenging school leaders, teachers and parents to get kids moving this May. Grab your bikes and join us on May 6 on Bike to School Day and then keep active riding the rest of the month. #MoveInMay

4. Partner Highlight: National School Plant Management Association

The National School Plant Management Association (NSPMA) was formed in the interest of enhancing and promoting the educational process. Its purpose is to provide for the exchange of information that improves school plant management, maintenance and care through the promotion of acceptable policies, standards and practices; and to promote the professional advancement of school plant management personnel. NSPMA contributes to excellence in education through professional facility management.
NSPMA serves on our National Shared Use Task Force, providing insight into the school facilities and maintenance issues as it relates to shared use of school facilities. Their involvement highlights the importance of connecting education to the value of quality school facilities and the role they play in creating healthier communities. For more information on the task force, contact Mikaela Randolph.

5. Save the Date: When Safe Routes to School Meets Violence Prevention Webinar

During the week of June 22nd, we’ll be hosting a webinar on the intersection of Safe Routes to School and violence prevention. Speakers will talk about the impacts of violence on youth and communities, strategies to make routes to school safe from violence and crime and how we can work collaboratively to create communities where kids can be active and safe. Save the date and stay tuned for more details and registration information later this month.

While you’re waiting for the June webinar, access audio-visual recordings and download Powerpoint slides from all of our previous webinars on our website. Just to highlight one of many available to you, check out the Build Your Own School District Policy to Advance Safe Routes to School webinar. 

6. American Heart and Encouraging Leaders to Get Out Their Bikes

Our friends at the American Heart Association and are just as excited about National Bike Month as we are and are encouraging their leaders to Get Out Their Bikes.

Not a PreventObesity supporter or leader yet? is the only online national network of people solely dedicated to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. A project of the American Heart Association, offers free tools, services and support to the people and organizations who are healthier and become more physically active. brings the players together, allowing people to network with other people across the country and advocate for the issues that will make a difference toward reversing obesity. The network provides tools and training for these players, so they can conduct advocacy efforts on their own, which is especially important to organizations that lack staff or funding. Join the movement today!

7. News from the Field

Virginia’s First Lady supports Safe Routes

Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe chaired the 2015 Weight of the State Conference, a statewide event on childhood obesity.  The conference attracted more than 300 people who are working on physical activity and nutrition issues to reduce the childhood obesity rate in the Commonwealth. As part of the conference, a special walk to school event was held in Henrico County at Ridge Elementary and Tuckahoe Middle Schools, with great support from the entire school community. First Lady McAuliffe joined the children and their families to celebrate the simple pleasure of walking to school.

8. Highlighted Blogs

Creating Streets Where We All Feel Safe and Respected (Katharine Bierce, Sara Zimmerman and Norma Tassy)

Spreading the Word on the Upcoming Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkability (Michelle Lieberman, Molly O’Reilly and Katharine Bierce)

For more information, contact:

Margaux Mennesson, Communications Manager
Safe Routes Partnership