Safe Routes to School in the Pacific Northwest


The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s mission is to advocate for safe walking and bicycling to and from school, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities.

Working in the Pacific Northwest, this regional network brings together community members of all ages, including advocates, school officials and teachers, and those interested in or working on health, transportation and planning. Together, around the greater Portland, Vancouver, and Salem areas, we support walking and bicycling policies and funding within communities, to create a place where walking and bicycling are safe and convenient. Our efforts to improve policies and leverage support for Safe Routes to School in the Pacific Northwest are generously supported by Kaiser Permanente.

SW WA: Safe Routes to School Webinar & Workshop

Many children lack safe places to bike or walk. We believe that every child deserves to safely walk and bike to school. Let us help you create more Safe Routes to School for children in your community. When you do, you’ll help everyone in your community become safer, healthier, and more productive!

Webinar: Safe Routes to School and Bikeability
December 15, 2015 @ 10:00am-11:30am

This webinar will focus on infrastructure improvements that address bicycle safety needs of children traveling to school and how those improvements can be a part of a Safe Routes to School project. It will start with a brief summary of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Safe Routes to School Program, and plans for the next “call for projects” in early 2016. National and local best practice examples will be shared, including the details of a recently completed Safe Routes to School project in Walla Walla County. Free. Register here.

Register Now: SW Washington Safe Routes to School Workshop
January 6, 2016 @ 1:30pm-4:30pm

Request for Proposals for WSDOT Safe Routes to School grants will be released in early 2016. Proposals must be received from a public agency in WA such as a school district, school, city, county, or public health agency.

Join us on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, to talk about the basics and the benefits of Safe Routes to School, and learn the details of WSDOT grants for bike, pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School engineering projects, including amount of funding available and project application requirements.There will also be an opportunity to work in groups with your local partners to help support your successful project.

Event Details
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Time: 1:30pm-4:30pm
Location: Kaiser Permanente Salmon Creek Medical Office
Registration: The event is free but registration is required. Register here.

You will benefit greatly during the workshop if you identify in advance what the engineering “problem” is that you seek to solve, and bring the appropriate partners to the table. Efforts to provide safe walking and biking facilities work best when coordinated partnerships are used to support them. What does that mean? If you’re a school representative, talk to your city’s public works or planning director; if you’re a public health or law enforcement official, find out who at your school or city is involved, and bring your expertise to the table. If you’re a community member or parent, talk with your school’s principal or a health or physical education teacher. Safe Routes to School partnerships usually include teachers, school administrators, transportation professionals, law enforcement, and public health professionals, but may include a wider variety of representatives.

Who should attend this free workshop? Teams of representatives from across Southwest Washington, including city and county transportation, health, and safety staff; school district administration; parents and community members.

Space is limited, please register today.

Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Opens for Public Comment

The Public Comment period for the Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan is open until February 18th, 2016, and you are strongly encouraged to review the plan and submit comments.


This is the first time the plan has been updated since 1995, and much work has been put into it. Together with a coalition of transportation, health, and safety advocates, Kari Schlosshauer, the PNW Regional Policy Manager, submitted a letter of comments and concerns (pdf) to be addressed in the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan prior to final adoption, including:

  • Programs such as Safe Routes to School, which should be closely referenced and supported in this Plan, are only given brief mention.
  • There is a missed opportunity in not more strongly linking such education/ encouragement programs with infrastructure built by state and local partners.
  • The Plan needs a better assessment of existing conditions. ODOT’s Region 1 Active Transportation Needs Inventory and Assessment provides an excellent process and example, and should be replicated statewide.
  • Updates to the functional classifications of ODOT facilities incorporating 2015 conditions is required in order to accurately reflect Oregon’s commitment to improved bicycle access on specific streets.
  • Include a true Multimodal Level of Service performance measures in the context of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

ODOT will present the Draft Plan to a variety of different stakeholder groups & will also hold an online open house available mid-December.

For more information, visit the Plan website, attend a presentation or the online open house, and be sure submit your comments before February 18, 2016. The next 20 years of walking, bicycling, and safe routes to everywhere depend on it.

Funding opportunities for schools and communities in WA

Due by Dec 3, 2015:
Safe Routes to School Bike & Pedestrian Safety Education Grants
To provide bicycle and pedestrian safety education to students in the 6th through 8th grade in up to 20 school districts across the state between January 2016 – June 2017. The grant award to school districts will range from $1,000 to $25,000 and may be used for curriculum resources, bicycles, a trailer for bicycle storage and transport, teacher training, and other essential services and equipment related to program implementation and evaluation. Learn more (pdf).

On Jan 6, 2016:
Free! Safe Routes to School Workshop for partners in Southwest WA
Is Safe Routes to School right for my community? Efforts to provide safe walking and biking facilities work best when coordinated partnerships are used to support them. The workshop will explore the benefits and basics of Safe Routes to School; WA State Safe Routes to School Grant Program; partnership building opportunities. In Clark County. Limited to 25 participants. Learn more & register.

Due by Feb 19, 2016:

Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools Grants
The Washington Legislature appropriated $5 million dollars in the 2015–17 capital budget for OSPI to administer a new grant program, Healthy Kids–Healthy Schools. Funding for this grant program is a budget investment priority of the Healthiest Next Generation Initiative. This grant program will help schools remove barriers and bridge the gaps that stand between best practices, processes, and policies for improved student health. The grant supports Washington’s Healthiest Next Generation Initiative by funding improvements or renovations to existing buildings, site improvements, and the purchase and installation of new or renovated equipment. Grant categories include Physical Education and Physical Activity – indoor and outdoor equipment, covered play structures, playground equipment. Applications are submitted by the district and may include requests for multiple schools in multiple categories. The minimum district request is $2,500. Grant awards are limited to $200,000 per district. Learn more.

Portland Public Schools Boundary Changes

UPDATE 11/16/15: Take an online survey through Dec. 1. More meetings added, below.

Boundaries for many schools falling withing Portland Public’s District will be changing from the 2016-17 year. Proposals are out now (view Scenario 1 and Scenario 2). Many of the changes will make a difference to students’ ability to walk or roll to school; ultimately, most of the changes do not address a current problem of students required to cross “High Crash Corridors” to reach their assigned school.

kids crossing street

In Portland, students from dozens of schools must cross or travel along a “High Crash Corridor” to get to their school. These dangerous roadways, just 3% of Portland’s road network, account for more than 50% of the city’s pedestrian fatalities. PPS redistricting should provide our families and communities with an opportunity to avoid crossing these High Crash Corridors on a daily basis, but in many cases they instead make it a requirement.

Speak up for your student’s safety! Learn more, take a look at the proposals, and consider attending an upcoming open house if you’d like to learn more, or to let PPS know that being able to safely walk and roll to school is important to your family.

Monday Nov. 9, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Hosford Middle School, 2303 SE 28th Place

Tuesday Nov. 10, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cesar Chavez K-8, 5103 N Willis Blvd.

Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Center for Intercultural Organizing, 700 N Killingsworth St.

Monday Nov. 16, 10 a.m. to noon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, 8114 SE Division St.

Monday Nov. 16, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., West Sylvan Middle School, 8111 SW West Slope Dr.

Tuesday Nov. 17, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N. Foss Ave.

Tuesday Nov. 17, 6 pm to 8 pm, Madison High School, 2735 NE 82nd Ave., en Espanol

Wednesday Nov. 18, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, Roseway Heights K-8, 7334 NE Siskiyou St.

Monday Nov. 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Markham K-5, 10531 SW Capitol Hwy.

Monday Nov. 23, 7 pm to 9 pm, Lane Middle School, 7200 SE 60th Ave.

Tuesday Nov. 24, 7 pm to 9 pm, King School, 4906 NE 6th Ave.

Can’t make a meeting? Ask questions & share your views directly to the boundary review committee:

LECTURE: What if Kids Design Cities? Nature, Discovery, and Play in Urban Design, Oct. 29

Children should be seen and heard, ideally outdoors


So believes landscape architect and activist Robin Moore, founder of the Natural Learning Initiative. In a lecture and conversation presented by the John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, Moore will discuss the role of naturalized urban spaces can play in child development and what he describes as “landscape architecture’s new quest” to integrate nature for kids in cities throughout the US and the world.

6:00p.m., Thursday, October 29, 2015
White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street
Admission: No cost, open to the public

What’s most important to you when it comes to bikes and transit?

TriMet’s gearing up to create their first-ever Bike Plan, and they want your input. The Bike Plan will be their roadmap for improving bike access to transit stops, expanding parking options, and accommodating bikes onboard buses and trains.

Join them for an open house in October:

Monday, October 5, 5-6:30 p.m.
Community Cycling Center
1700 NE Alberta St.
Plan your trip at

Tuesday, October 6, 5-6:30 p.m.
Oregon Rail Heritage Center
2250 SE Water Ave.
Plan your trip at

Wednesday, October 7, 5-6:30 p.m.
The Oregon Clinic, 1st Floor
1111 NE 99th Ave
Plan your trip at

Thursday, October 8, 5-6:30 p.m.
Orenco Bike & Ride
(west side of NW 231st at MAX tracks)
Plan your trip at

Light refreshments will be served.

Four Different Regional Approaches to Safe Routes to School

In 2012, Congress made changes to Federal funding for Safe Routes to School that gave some metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), which are regional transportation planning authorities, decision-making authority over which projects to fund. Given these changes, it is important to examine the impact of the role of MPOs on the availability of funding for Safe Routes to School initiatives and to identify best practices.

Nearly 200 MPOs around the country control more than $200 million in Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding each year. A new information brief, issued today by the National Center for Safe Routes to School and written by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, demonstrates how regional transportation planning authorities or MPOs can advance Safe Routes to School priorities using the relatively new Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Download the brief (pdf).

boy and mom in the rain

The brief profiles four MPOs, each of which used a thoughtful and innovative approach to TAP that was ultimately beneficial to the safety of children and families on the trip to and from school.

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