Ever find yourself banging your head against the wall trying to advance a Safe Routes to School program across multiple schools or even an entire district? Worry not; there are plenty of other goose-egged foreheads (and dented walls) across the country that are in your same shoes.
Engaging local elected officials is not a new component of Safe Routes to School – in fact, it has been an integral part of the process since the inception of Safe Routes to School programs and projects.
Safe Routes to School has the amazing capacity to stretch its boundaries across the fields of health, transportation, safety, environment and more. This elasticity is an enormous advantage in terms of marketing the benefits of walking and bicycling to and from school as an effective approach to addressing major issues in all fields.
Moments ago I finished facilitating a webinar on regional approaches to Safe Routes to School through Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOS). The jargon involved even when clearly presenting on this topic would send even the most hardened Safe Routes to School practitioner running in the other direction. Yet, this is the point.
In Safe Routes to School we see countless examples of elementary schools led by passionate adults and fanatical students that knock walking and bicycling out of the proverbial park – but, as a movement, I believe we struggle to connect as frequently and in meaningful ways around active transportation with both middle and high school age students.
Change is inevitable, it is said. It is how we choose to adapt to this change that is central in the New York Times bestseller “Who Moved My Cheese?” that eloquently describes our instinctual response to change through a parable about two mice and two mini-people whose cheese supply has been moved.
Please excuse the divergence from our regularly scheduled content. You see, between the time I wrote my last blog and the publishing of this blog my family has grown by one precious little girl, Madeline Mae Cowan (who, incidentally, has already expressed to me her deep and unwavering passion for walking and bicycling to school).