September 2021 E-News

Safe Routes Partnership E-News
Issue #186: September 2021

Safe Routes Partnership E-News is a monthly email newsletter published by the Safe Routes Partnership. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. Join us!

  1. SAFE Routes Back 2 School Launch 3 Resources Available Now!
  2. Register for Walk to School Day on October 6, 2021!
  3. Deadlines Loom for Infrastructure and Budget as September Rolls Around
  4. Investing in Health, Safety, and Mobility: A Report on State Funding for Walking, Bicycling, and Safe Routes to School
  5. Cycling Past 50: Nationwide Survey of Older Cyclists Now Underway
  6. What Comes After Covid?

1. SAFE Routes Back 2 School Launch 3 Resources Available Now!

Launch 3 Resources

  • Safe Routes Back 2 School Zoom Session #2 Recap (August 4, 2021) - Earlier this month, we held our second informal session on preparing your Safe Routes to School program for Back to School 2021. We shared Back to School resources, heard highlights from Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)’s Safe Routes to School program that engaged students and families during the pandemic, and connected with other Safe Routes practitioners during informal breakout sessions. Visit our website for a recording of the opening presentations, PDFs of the slides, and a link to our new Back to School Messaging Guide.
  • Safe Routes to School Back to School Messaging Guide - As Summer 2021 comes to an end, marketing efforts are once again focused on Back to School. With the increase in students returning to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, Safe Routes to School programs must be ready to engage students, parents, teachers, and administrators on the benefits of Safe Routes to School. This Back to School Messaging Guide contains sample social media posts, templates for social media graphics, and promotional flyers to help you effectively communicate and market your Safe Routes to School Program.
  • Safe Routes Partnership Webinar Archive - Our webinars feature our staff and incredible advocates, Safe Routes to School program staff, government officials, elected leaders, and others from around the country sharing their knowledge and learning on a diverse range of topics. Visit our webinar archive for recordings of webinars we’ve held over the past year, including the following highlights with pandemic-specific content:
    • Community Engagement Lessons from the Pandemic: What Should We Keep in Our Toolbox? - This virtual workshop and discussion was led by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on innovative community engagement tools and practices used during the pandemic that may deserve a permanent place in our toolboxes as communities reopen.
    • Advancing Safe Routes to Parks in the Time of Coronavirus - In this webinar, Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program 2020 participants shared about their work and how they shifted their activities in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Learn how the 2020 participants worked closely with community members to advance shared goals for parks and help build the capacity, skills, and structures to ensure the work continues.
    • Colorado Safe Routes to School: Safe Routes to School in Times of Uncertainty - This webinar was tailored for the Colorado Safe Routes to School Program; however, practitioners from all over the country and backgrounds can benefit from the tools and guidance provided. Watch this webinar recording to learn how to keep Safe Routes to School programs running and encourage your community to stay active during COVID-19 and beyond.
  • Step by Step: How to Start a Walking School Bus at Your School - A Walking School Bus is a safe and fun way for children to get physical activity as they travel to and from school with adult supervision. This step-by-step guide outlines how to plan and implement a walking school bus for your school and includes proven tools, tips, and resources for a fast and easy start. 
  • The Wheels on the Bike Go Round & Round - This guide outlines how to put together and run a bike train program at your school, including initial planning considerations, logistics, promotion, training, and evaluation. The guide has tried-and-true methods, resources, and templates to get you off to a quick start. 
  • Keep Calm and Carry On to School: Improving Arrival and Dismissal for Walking and Biking - This infobrief provides information on how schools, districts, cities, counties, and community partners can address arrival and dismissal in school travel plans as well as other planning, policy, and programming efforts. Explore the strategies for arrival and dismissal in this resource as you make your Back to School plans.

Explore all the resources here. Share these resources and accompanying graphics by visiting the SAFE Routes Back 2 School promotional toolkit!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! - SAFE Routes Back 2 School Launch 4 resources will be released on September 21st.

2. Register for Walk to School Day on October 6, 2021!

Recognizing that many schools are in session this fall in different ways, Walk to School Day 2021 registration is open for everyone to participate in a way that best fits their school and local public health guidance. You can choose to register your participation as an entire school, a neighborhood, or a family. Walk to School Day is an important opportunity to gather as a school or community, encourage physical activity, and promote safety in your neighborhoods and near schools.

The official date for Walk to School Day is October 6th, but participation is encouraged throughout October. Here are some ways to start planning your activity and to share the excitement for Walk to School Day this year:

  • Register – this year, families, neighborhoods, and schools can all sign up!
  • Check out the list of 20 ways to celebrate Walk to School Day with your family, neighborhood, or school.
  • First time planning a school-based event? Check out the Getting Started Guide. Be sure to adapt your event to align with local public health guidance.
  • Follow Walk and Bike to School Day on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest Walk to School Day news and event ideas.
  • Share your event plans and photos on social media using the hashtag #WalktoSchoolDay.

3. Deadlines Loom for Infrastructure and Budget as September Rolls Around

After a busy spring and summer working on legislation to reauthorize surface transportation spending, Congress is staring down a September 30th expiration date for current funding. Congress must reauthorize transportation spending or pass a short-term extension in order to maintain funding for transportation. Where things currently stand:

  • The House and Senate each passed their versions of transportation reauthorization. The House passed the INVEST Act in July and the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in August.
  • The plan is for the House to vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by September 27, 2021. However, there is a push to pass budget reconciliation before bringing the infrastructure bill to a vote in the House. 

To that end:

  •  The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is marking up its portion of the budget reconciliation bill on September 14th, 2021. T&I has $60 billion to allocate.
  • Leader Schumer has tasked Senate committees with coming up with their portions of reconciliation by September 15th, 2021. The Environment and Public Works committee has $67 billion to allocate, but its jurisdiction extends beyond only transportation.

Read more in our federal policy blog

Federal Policy Webinar coming in October! Safe Routes Partnership will host a webinar on October 14th at 3 PM ET that will provide a deep dive into federal policy related to Safe Routes to School and active transportation. Why October? Current funding for surface transportation expires on September 30, 2021, so by October we will know if Congress has reauthorized surface transportation, passed a continuing resolution to keep funding/policy level, or let funding expire, and we will be able to tell you what the outcome means for Safe Routes to School, walking, and biking. Keep an eye on your email for information on how to register.

 4. Investing in Health, Safety, and Mobility: A Report on State Funding for Walking, Bicycling, and Safe Routes to School

Active transportation offers incredible benefits to states, communities, and people – from improved health through physical activity to boosting quality of life by reducing time wasted sitting in traffic to stimulating local economies. By providing long-term, dedicated funds for walking and bicycling, states can make meaningful investments in their residents and communities. Safe Routes Partnership’s report, “Investing in Health, Safety, and Mobility: A Report on State Funding for Walking, Bicycling, and Safe Routes to School,” provides background, initial data, and promising examples of state funding opportunities to support walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School. Read the report:

 5. Cycling Past 50: Nationwide Survey of Older Cyclists Now Underway

Increased cycling rates among all ages has sparked the need to learn more about how to make cycling possible and safe. Learning about why and how older adults (50 and older) cycle is no exception, especially since remaining physically active and engaged supports overall wellness.

This year’s 4 survey is updated to provide better information about older cyclists, including how COVID impacts the lives of older adults. Survey results provide transportation planners and engineers, public health professionals, and journalists with better information about the needs of older adults who cycle, similar to what we know about kids that walk or bike to school.

Input from all 50+ cyclists, regular or occasional, is encouraged. Past year respondents are also encouraged to take the survey to share how COVID and being a year older may have affected cycling.

Fill out the survey at:

The survey will remain open through March 31, 2022.

A report on the 2020 survey is available here.

 6. What Comes After Covid?

It has now been about a year and a half since the world turned upside down; a year since the renewed call for racial justice shook cities across the United States and the world. As we near the end of shutdowns, masks, and social distancing, we can’t go back to “normal.” The world has changed— we have all changed. We have to move toward what’s next. The good news is that what’s next can be determined by everyday people making and advocating for small improvements to make their communities more equitable, healthy, and safe. Read community goals and stories that give hope for what comes next in this blog.