Safe Routes to School E-News
Issue #174: September 2020
- Celebrate Walk to School Day on October 7 at School OR at Home!
- Portland Metro Ballot Measure Would Boost Active Transportation and Transit
- Transportation Bill Heads to Extension
- Call for Communities to Participate in Routes of Health: A Community-Based Legal & Policy Framework for Prioritizing Health in Traffic Routing Systems
- Fact Sheet: Influencing Complete Streets at the Regional Level
- Join us for a Webinar: Safe Routes for Older Adults
- Harnessing Data for Safe Routes to Parks
- Marking the 5th Anniversary of Call to Action on Walking
Back-to-school season is in full swing, and whether your students are attending in person, doing distance learning, or a hybrid of both, we are all adapting to a new and different learning environment. But one thing has remained constant: schools across the country are still committed to participating in Walk to School Day this October—and the reasons for participation remain the same, with physical activity, safety, and social connectedness rising to the top.
No matter what your learning environment looks like this fall, families, neighborhoods, and schools are all invited to register their participation this year. Walk to School Day activities might happen at home, around the neighborhood, or at school—there’s room for everyone! Register today!
Here are three actions you can take between now and October 7 to make the case for walking to school throughout the year.
- Get inspired and get creative with 20 ideas to celebrate Walk to School Day in 2020.
- Check out our extensive recommendations for how to implement Safe Routes to School in different scenarios for back to school during the pandemic—whether it be in-person, online only, or a hybrid option.
- Share this short video introducing Safe Routes to School with school and district officials, in parent newsletters, and on social media. (Note: the video has been updated to reflect the new 6 E’s of Safe Routes to School)
We have been working with the Getting There Together coalition for the past two years to push for a transportation ballot measure in Portland that prioritizes walking, biking, transit, and safety in the communities most in need. The Metro Council has just approved referring the Get Moving 2020 regional transportation investment measure to the voters, who will decide in November 2020 whether to proceed. If approved, it would invest $7 billion over the next 20 years in the greater Portland region, including funding Safe Routes to School at $4.5 million per year, free youth transit passes, and significant investments in safety, transit, and active transportation.
Unfortunately, the gains for active transportation and safety for people walking and biking that we won in the House and Senate transportation bills are at risk. Congress has not been able to get a final bill over the finish line, and with less than a month till the FAST Act expires, an extension of current law is most likely. Read our federal policy blog for more details.
Drivers are using navigation apps (Waze, Google Maps, etc.) because they are looking for a logical way to avoid sitting in traffic, but the result is a shift in the usage of our streets. In many communities, altered traffic patterns are undermining active transportation progress in neighborhoods and near schools, parks, senior centers, community centers, and other community hubs.
The Safe Routes Partnership is looking to work with five communities across the country to understand the effects that navigation apps are having on walkability, bikeability, and overall livability. Learnings from the five communities and parallel data and policy analyses will be compiled in a framework and report with recommendations for the local communities and other communities around the country to use in addressing these challenges.
If your community has faced these challenges and would like to be considered for the project, please email Michelle Lieberman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional policies have a profound impact on the safety, convenience, and ability of children to be able to walk and bicycle to schools and be more physically active in daily life. Complete Streets policies are one of the most effective policy mechanisms that regions can adopt to make sure roads are designed for everyone who uses them – people walking, bicycling, driving, or taking public transportation. A new fact sheet, Influencing Complete Streets Policies at the Regional Level, draws on the Safe Routes Partnership’s experience through our Regional Network Project to lay out success stories, best practices, and resources for anyone looking to plan, fund, and build safer, more convenient streets for biking and walking.
Mobility options that include walking, cycling, and transit are essential, especially for older adults who rely on these to get to critical destinations in their daily lives. Join our webinar on September 30 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Pacific to learn about the growing need for mobility options, creating inclusive and accessible environments, and how we can support community members through their lives.
- Carol Kachadoorian, Transportation Planner & Founding Collaborator, dblTilde Collaborative
- Bandana Shrestha, Director of Community Engagement, AARP Oregon
- Katie M. White, Director of Age-Friendly Communities, Columbus and Franklin County, The Ohio State University College of Social Work
Data can seem boring, hard to work with, and even intimidating. But if we know what to do with it, data can be the power booster that Safe Routes to Parks efforts need to make changes for safer, more equitable park access. Collecting and using data is an essential part of Safe Routes to Parks because it gives information about what is really happening in communities, which can spark ideas for solutions and inform how to move toward them. Data can help you identify community priorities, advocate for change, and measure success. This fact sheet provides ideas for ways to access and collect data as well as ways to effectively share the information to improve safe, equitable access to parks and green space.
This Wednesday marked the 5th anniversary of the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities! How has your state made progress on supporting walking and walkable communities in the last five years? Our 2020 State Report Cards provide a snapshot of each state's policy across 28 indicators of support for walking, bicycling, and active kids and communities.
For a deeper understanding of how your state's score in 2020 compares to previous years, you can access the 2018 and 2016 report cards on our website.