Happy New Year

Deb HubsmithAs we kick off the new year, our staff leadership and steering committee reviews our progress towards the goals of our strategic plan. I am always amazed at how much progress we continue to make in fulfilling our mission to advocate for 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.

To achieve the overarching goals outlined in our strategic plan we focus on four main areas:

1) advocating and working to strengthen Safe Routes to School funding at the national, state and local levels;

2) advancing policy change at state and regional levels through the Safe Routes network project, and at the local level through technical assistance;

3) providing programmatic resources and best practices through webinars, guides and blogs to advance the Safe Routes to School movement; and

4) supporting schools and families to engage in more walking and physical activity through the Fire Up Your Feet education program.

Throughout 2013, I will highlight each of these four areas and show how the collective work we are doing is making a big difference to improve children’s health and safety, and the livability of communities.

2013 is already off to a good start – North Dakota and Louisiana have announced a new call for applications for Safe Routes to School projects, and on Friday, January 4, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald announced $26.5 million in federal Safe Routes to School funding for 64 project sponsors to implement infrastructure improvements and public education campaigns across the state to encourage elementary and middle school children to safely walk and bicycle to school.

Have you taken a moment to look through all the resources our national learning network has pulled together recently or the list of upcoming webinars? The Library of Resources is really impressive, you can find the best resources on Safe Routes to School, Street Scale Improvements, Land Use (including shared use agreements and school siting), lower-income and social equity resources and links to the latest research.

Our webinar line up for 2013 will help you be successful in so many areas.  It’s not too late to sign-up for our next webinar on January 10 at 2 PM ET:  "New Funding, New Partners, New Game 201: How to Build Safe Routes to School into Regional Governments".  With the new MAP-21 rules providing 50 percent of Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding to regional agencies, it’s critical that the field get involved in shaping the regional TAP funding programs, to make the most of the opportunities. Register here

Here are a few quotes from recent webinar attendees:

  • “Best webinar I've ever attended. Keep up the great work.”
  • “Your presentation covered all the essentials with good photos and advice. Well done today!” 
  • “Very helpful and inspirational information. Thank you for providing this free resource - so helpful to a nonprofit advocate who's working with very little budget and trying to make a difference in the community!”

Wishing everyone a great start to 2013!