Safe Routes to School National Conference Highlights

photo collage

We continue to feel inspired and energized by the Safe Routes to School National Conference. Thank you to everyone who traveled to Tampa to join us, and for sharing your knowledge, challenges, and ideas over the past 3 days. If you missed the conference, we're pleased to share a recap of highlights.

Day One

Executive Director Cass Isidro kicked off today's lunch plenary session and then introduced speaker Mara Mintzer, founder of Growing Up Boulder, who led an engaging talk about how to include children and youth in designing child-friendly cities. A packed afternoon of breakout sessions included discussions about Safe Routes to School and Vision Zero, creative partnerships and SRTS, AV technology and policy, and approaches to implementing SRTS policy - plus more! We capped off the evening with a welcome reception at the Tampa Bay History Center

Day Two

In the morning we had the chance to explore Tampa on foot at a few different exciting mobile workshops. We heard there were even some chicken sightings in Ybor City! Morning breakout sessions highlighted topics about SRTS in rural communities, Miami's WalkSafe and BikeSafe programs, applying data-driven decisions to promote health equity in SRTS, just to name a few.

At lunch, we recognized 2019 Hubsmith Award winner Lamont Jefferson for his extraordinary contributions to advancing equity and Safe Routes in North Philadelphia at the Associacion Puertorriquenos En Marcha and Rainbow de Colores playground in North Philadelphia. Next, plenary speaker Shavon Arline-Bradley gave a rousing and inspiring talk about the intersection of equity, transportation and social justice.

There were more exciting breakout sessions in the afternoon covering topics like walking school buses, modernizing your SRTS messaging, cultivating SRTS champions through tactical urbanism, and even an interactive bike education board game! Plus more! In the evening Visit Tampa Bay hosted a reception, and we enjoyed an exclusive screening of the MOTHERLOAD documentary.

Day Three

On Thursday morning we joined Mayor Jane Castor to kick off the #CrosswalkstoClassrooms initiative at Rampello Magnet School in Tampa. Amazing. One of the mobile workshops visited the very same school to conduct informal evaluations and collaborate about potential partnerships and solutions. Another mobile workshop journeyed to Garden Steps to learn about how the community reclaimed unused space and turned it into an active community garden!

Meanwhile at the hotel, the Our Steps, Our Stories workshop invited participants to express their experiences about home, transportation, and community through art! And the campfire session led an interactive, collaborative discussion about the future of Safe Routes to School.

Mid-morning breakout sessions featured topics including new ways to think about community safety and enforcement in public places, technology to assist with data collection and analysis, and new systems approaches to road safety. If only we could attend every session at the same time!

We closed out the conference with a plenary talk by Jeff Speck, city planner and best-selling author. If the kids are distracted by their phones, shouldn't we just make sure the streets are safe for distracted kids? (Yes.)