Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #92: October 2013
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.
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In This Issue:
There is a lot to celebrate this October! From International Walk and Bike to School Day on October 9, to the recent victory for Safe Routes to School in the California state legislature, to the inspiring and empowering Walking Summit in Washington, DC, Safe Routes to School champions across the country are lifting up success stories and firing up communities to stay healthy and physically active. As we inspire each other through amazing local efforts, we create great momentum and change nationally. Read more.
Now it is time to celebrate during International Walk to School Month and Walk and Bike to School Day on October 9! Integrating exercise into everyday life creates a lifelong commitment to physical activity, plus active kids are healthier and do better in school. October is a great month to join one of the thousands of walking school buses or bike trains, and to take the extra step forward to becoming a champion for active schools and Safe Routes to School programs in your community. Click here for more great ideas on how to build on momentum from Walk to School Day throughout the month of October.
The federal government shutdown in its second week, and our thoughts are turning to what the shutdown means for the reauthorization of MAP-21, which expires a year from now. While many USDOT employees exempt from this shutdown due to how transportation is funded, there is a big shortfall in transportation spending starting in 2015. How the current shutdown is resolved will have implications for what’s possible in the next transportation bill for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking—and whether or not a year from now, we see a similar shutdown in transportation spending. Read our latest federal policy blog for more details.
The 2013 Fall Activity Challenge is currently underway in the Atlanta area, Baltimore area, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Northeast Ohio, Oregon, Southwest Washington, Wisconsin, and the Greater Washington, DC area. Parents, students and school staff in these states and regions are welcome to register for the Fall Activity Challenge anytime through the month of October and still compete for a portion of awards totaling $50,000 on equal footing, since they only need to log one activity, one time per week from the time they register.Registration takes only one minute and can be done from a smartphone or a computer!
Fire Up Your Feet is also the go-to resource for information, tips, webinars and activities for anyone interested in raising the drumbeat for physical activity at their K-8 school. Any school in the country can add a healthy fundraiser that is centered around physical activity - a walk-a-thon, a fun run or month-long physical activity challenge can really get hearts pumping to raise funds to improve your school's wellness efforts. Read more.
Our monthly technical assistance webinar series features expert speakers, a chat feature for participants, and archived downloadable post-webinar recordings. Join us for these upcoming webinars:
Shared Use: Is It In You? Engaging Key Stakeholders in Shared Use Strategies
November 7th, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern - Register here
Making use of school facilities that would not otherwise be used after school hours allows for a more efficient use of public space and money, and is a promising strategy to combat childhood obesity. This webinar will focus on providing tools to engage key stakeholders in the discussion around shared use agreements.
Empowering Lower-income Communities to Take Advantage of MAP-21 Funds
November 21st, 2013 @ 2pm Eastern - Register here
More street scale projects can be built in lower-income communities and communities of color by training advocates nationwide on how to have successful meetings with local elected officials about existing funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects, including the new MAP-21 funds. This webinar will focus on the tools the Safe Routes Partnership has created and the need to activate our National Active Transportation Diversity Task Force and other partners at the local and state level.
Often times we meet with a rural school or a community and hear, “How will the Safe Routes to School program work for us, when 90% of the students are bused to school?” One of the great things about Safe Routes to School is that it is not a “one size fits all program” and it provides the flexibility for communities and schools to make their local program a success. To keep the conversation about rural communities going, we asked Safe Routes Partnership steering committee member Melissa Kramer Badke of East Central Regional Planning Commission to guest blog about how rural schools in northeast Wisconsin are participating in International Walk to School Day and Safe Routes to School programming. From Walk At School events to students shoveling snow together to burgeoning successful walking school buses, get inspired by these ideas for bringing the Safe Routes to School movement to rural communities.Read the blog post here.
The Safe Routes Partnership's Voices for Healthy Kids: Active Places initiative is seeking applications from organizations and communities in need of technical assistance to support campaign efforts related to shared use agreements and street scale improvements. Campaign efforts may include passing Complete Streets policies, securing funding for shared use agreements, and ensuring that MAP-21 funding at the state and regional levels supports walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School. Technical assistance comes in the form of our staff time and can range from providing resources, to assisting with the creation of campaign plans and platforms, to providing communications strategies and coaching to ensure a successful campaign.
For more details and application instructions, click here. The deadline for applications is October 18, 2013.
Check here for information about our new leadership efforts engaging with the National Shared Use Task Force andNational Active Transportation Diversity Task Force.
Regional Network Update
At the end of September, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) approved the Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program (EAP) – a $200 million initiative to expand the bike network countywide and finish high-priority projects within a decade. The Bike EAP comprises 42 projects totaling about 77 miles of new bikeways that would make it much easier for people to ride their bike to school, work, transit stations, and other major destinations. Read more in Rye Baerg’s blog.
State Network Update
California took a big step forward in September with a 35% increase in funding for walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School! The state adopted a new Active Transportation Program to award $130 million per year in state and federal funds to pedestrian and bicycle projects. Thanks to the hard work of the Safe Routes Partnership and statewide partners at least $24 million per year from the new program will fund Safe Routes to School projects. Read more in Jeanie Ward-Waller's blog and see the press release on the funding victory.
Join the Safe Routes Partnership at the Southern Obesity Summit (Christy Smith)
Virginia Models Successful Partnership Between Transportation and Education (Christine Green)
Since its inception in 2005, Washington's Safe Routes to School program has reached 230 schools, making walking and biking conditions safer for about 100,000 children. To achieve these improvements, approximately $55 million has been awarded to 140 projects from over $216 million in requests. The number of children biking and walking has increased by over 20 percent, with a measured increase in pedestrian and bicycle facilities and a reduction in motorist speeds. Visit the program website here.
For more information, contact: