Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #183: June 2021
- Save the Dates for Back 2 School Resources Coming Monthly!
- Safe Routes Back 2 School 2021 Zoom Session
- Federal Transportation Bill Heating Up
- New Report Coming Soon: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: COVID-19’s Impact on Youth Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School
- Apply for ATP Technical Assistance in Cycle 6!
- Request for Information on Transportation Equity Data
- July is National Park and Recreation Month!
The return to school for the 2021-22 school year is about safe walking, rolling, and so much more! Together we will ensure a Socially-connected, Active, Future for Everyone, with SAFE routes connecting kids to learning, to health, and to each other again. With the first launch of resources on June 23rd and extending through the new school year, September 21st, the Safe Routes Partnership will be providing key messaging, real-time resources, and Zoom discussion sessions to prepare all of us for the return to school. We recognize that the new school year may still look different across the nation but we aim to support each of you as you champion walking, biking, and rolling to and during school as solutions to build back better. Through the SAFE Routes Back 2 School campaign these efforts will be future-focused supporting the social connections and physical activity our kids need to be ready to learn and thrive.
From June 23 through September 21, Safe Routes Partnership will be featuring resources to support your Safe Routes to School program's back to school needs.
On Tuesday, June 22nd, from 2-3 pm Eastern, the Safe Routes Partnership is hosting a free webinar:
June 22, 2021, 2-3 pm Eastern
As we begin to round the corner on COVID-19, schools across the country are planning to welcome back most, if not all, students for in-person learning this fall. Join us for an informal Zoom session on preparing your Safe Routes to School program for Back to School 2021. Learn about Back 2 School resources from Safe Routes Partnership, see highlights from a few Safe Routes to School programs that engaged students and families during the pandemic, and connect with other Safe Routes practitioners during informal breakout sessions.
NOTE: There will be brief presentations by Safe Routes Partnership and a few Safe Routes to School practitioners at the start of the meeting. The rest of the session will be reserved for connecting with others during breakout groups. We will not be facilitating the discussion but we will provide guiding questions.
Register for the webinar here.
In the last two weeks, both the House and Senate Committees have issued their transportation bills. They are both great news for Safe Routes: significant funding increases and policy changes for the Transportation Alternatives Program; new investments in safety for people walking, biking, and rolling; expanding Safe Routes to include high schools; and new climate, equity, and Complete Streets provisions. The House bill would even once again require state Safe Routes to School coordinators. Get all the details in our federal policy blogs about the Senate bill and the House bill, and stay tuned this summer as both bills work their way through the legislative process.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are beginning to understand the toll taken on people’s physical activity and health. Some people in the U.S. were able to take advantage of working and learning from home, spending more time outdoors, and walking or biking in their neighborhood during the past year, but that has not been the case for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed what research has long shown – not all communities, people, or places have the same access to safe places to recreate or to walk and wheel close to home and to every day destinations.
Our report, “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: COVID-19’s Impact on Youth Physical Activity and Safe Routes to School,” helps paint a picture of how COVID-19 has impacted physical activity for youth and families. It examines how the past year has limited opportunities for physical activity and changed the way people move throughout their communities. This report summarizes quantitative data from emerging studies and includes perspectives from Safe Routes to School practitioners and national organizations working to advance physical activity for youth and families. It also offers recommendations for supporting physical activity moving forward.
If you are working to make walking and biking to schools, parks and other key destinations safer in your community, we can help!
The Safe Routes Partnership can assist your efforts to make your community a place where all residents can easily be active and healthy. We are offering long-term, free technical assistance to under-resourced communities in California that would like to seek funding through the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP) for projects that support walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School.
Specifically, we can help up to six communities or agencies develop a competitive application in ATP Cycle 6, for which the Call for Projects is scheduled in the first half of 2022. We are eager to work with you in the development of an ATP application for a plan (for pedestrians, bikes, Safe Routes to School, or active transportation generally); infrastructure; non-infrastructure; or combined infrastructure/non-infrastructure application.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through June 30, 2021. If you have any questions during the application process, please contact Jonathan Matz, California Senior Policy Manager: email@example.com.
Apply for Technical Assistance here.
USDOT has announced a Request for Information (RFI) to receive input from the public on the data and assessment tools available to assess transportation equity. Equitable access to transportation is a civil right, and this RFI is one action USDOT is taking in response to President Biden’s Executive Order, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” which directs the government to pursue a comprehensive approach to advance equity.
Through this RFI, USDOT seeks information and recommendations in the field of transportation equity from public agencies, academics involved in the study of equity in transportation decision-making, advocacy and nonprofit organizations working in the transportation sector or the field of equity, and state, local, tribal and territorial stakeholders. The Department will use the responses it receives to inform its approach as it expands the use of data and equity-assessment methods to advance transportation equity goals. The RFI closes on June 24, 2021.
Submit information here.
As July approaches, park and recreation professionals across the country are preparing for National Park and Recreation Month! Parks are at the center of so many experiences and memories — that's why safe and equitable access to these spaces matters so much. Local parks have been essential throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of your community members finding a new appreciation for the vital role these essential spaces provide. This year's theme is “Our Park and Recreation Story," and the Safe Routes Partnership is excited to join NRPA in highlighting the stories of communities have come together to increase access to these essential community spaces.
Be on the lookout for Safe Routes to Parks resources released during the month, and plan to share your park and recreation story using the hashtag #OurParkAndRecStory in July.