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 regions, we support walking and bicycling policies and funding within communities, to create a place where walking and bicycling are safe and convenient.

The “Fire Up Your Feet” autumn challenge is on

This fall, Fire Up Your Feet is awarding more than $100,000 to K-8 schools across the country to support Safe Routes to School and other health and wellness programs. With awards in several categories, schools have even more chances to win.

Read below to find out about some of the awards that schools could win for the awesome work that they’re doing to help get kids moving safely to and from school, and take the next step by signing up at today! Continue reading

Panel discussion Thursday 8/14: Multi-Modal Innovation and Sustainable Design

Friends and Colleagues in the Portland region (or just passing through on Thursday) — our regional policy manager, Kari Schlosshauer, will be on a panel this Thursday with Gabe Klein, former transportation chief for the cities of Chicago and Washington, D.C, who is widely regarded for incorporating sustainability and livability into all transportation projects.

He’s in town to discuss Multi-Modal Innovation and Sustainable Design for Portland — in other words, how we can make our cities, specifically Portland, more livable and transportationable for people of all ages and abilities. Something we desperately need.

Is transportationable a word? Come to the panel and find out!

Thursday, August 14, 7-9am at the Multnomah Athletic Club.
Tickets start at $20 including breakfast, and we would love to see your smiling face in the audience.

More information and registration here.

Metro Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grant Funding, $2.1M Available

Oregon Metro’s Regional Travel Options (RTO) grant cycle is now open with $2.1 million available for projects carried out within the Metro boundary — the tri-county region surrounding Portland including Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties.


“Travel Options” projects are those that help improve the transportation system through education and encouragement of travel choices to and from work or school, such as carpooling, riding transit, walking, and bicycling. These programs help the region in numerous ways by both improving mobility and reducing pollution from car trips.

Safe Routes to School projects are a great fit for this grant opportunity, and you are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply! The four key categories for measuring RTO outcomes are Environment, Equity, Health, and Economy — and Safe Routes to School programs fit right in.

  • Environment: Safe Routes to School programs help the environment by reducing pollutants and consumption of energy and non-renewable resources through educating students on how to safely walk and bike to school, giving them the maps and other tools to do so, and providing support and encouragement for more children to walk to and from school together.
    • School drop-offs contribute as much as 25% of morning traffic.
    • In many cases, the drop-off trip is less than three miles — and the parent returns home after drop-off.
    • Some schools have seen a 50% reduction in parent car drop-off rates following the introduction of Safe Routes to School programs.
  • Equity: Safe Routes to School is all about creating opportunities for greater accessibility of travel options for our children to get to and from school and in their communities.
    • Many schools have high rates of kids coming from low-income households. Safe Routes to School projects benefit ALL students living within 1-2 miles of a school equally, benefiting underserved individuals and communities equitably and helping reduce household transportation costs.
  • Health: Safe Routes to School programs promote health benefits for our kids by creating and encouraging opportunities for use of healthier travel options.
    • The US Department of Health recommends people get at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.
    • For many kids in Oregon, a walk to or from school may be their only opportunity to get physical activity during the entire school day.
  • Economy: Safe Routes to School programs are a tried, tested, and cost-effective way to promote low-cost travel options for our youth to get to and from school. Kids who get physical activity in the morning are better primed to learn and there may be a reduced absenteeism benefit. Safe Routes to School programs also benefit the community at large by providing safe, healthy ways for people of all ages to get around in our neighborhoods.

Read on to find out who’s eligible to apply, how much is available for a project, when you need to apply, and how to get more information and help.

Continue reading

Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Listening Meeting Workshops

Want to know more about what Oregon is doing with their Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan, what’s included and what it means for the future of planning for, funding, and building pedestrian & bicycle projects, including the future of Safe Routes to School at the state level?

Of course you do! You are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) upcoming workshops, called “listening meetings”. The Portland workshop will be held on September 24 from 2:30-5pm — seats are limited and going fast!


ODOT is hosting a series of Listening Meeting Workshops to hear from you on key policy issues that relate to walking and biking in Oregon. At the workshops, ODOT will ask specific questions related to critical destinations, connectivity, and safety that will help inform policy development for the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (OBPP). The workshop will include an introductory presentation of the OBPP, highlight opportunities and challenges learned to date, and then break into table discussions. (Please plan to attend the full workshop.)

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED & space is limited! To register for one of five workshops around the state, go to the Get Involved webpage.

Meet Us in East Multnomah County!

Come join friends and colleagues to learn more about the future of walkability and Safe Routes to School in the greater Portland metropolitan region, with a focus on East Multnomah County.

Find out more about our walkability strategy and how you can help ensure success, and hear from speakers from around the county who will give updates on topics of interest for Multnomah County. This is also an opportunity to network while enjoying light appetizers and delicious local beverages. Conveniently located just a seven minute walk from the Gresham Central MAX station.

Wednesday, August 20, 5-7:30pm in Gresham.

RSVP for location information: on Facebook or Eventbrite.

Tell your friends and invite others interested in improving the health and transportation accessibility for people of all ages in East Multnomah County! We look forward to meeting you there.

Active Transportation Plan adopted by Metro Council

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Regional Active Transportation Plan (ATP), that Metro has adopted by resolution today, July 17, 2014.

Through the ATP we can see what it would look like with complete walking and bicycling networks, access to transit, and safe routes to everywhere. One thing that’s great about the ATP is that it’s based on local jurisdictions’ already existing plans to make pedestrian and bicycle improvements. The ATP is also essential to Metro’s Climate Smart Communities Scenario Project. Based on the cost-benefit analysis of investments, it is clear that quickly implementing the ATP is a smart, low-cost, and effective step toward meeting our requirement to address greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, and also to support the aspirations of local jurisdictions and people around the region who want vibrant neighborhoods with safe and reliable transportation options.

Let’s take a minute to applaud all the hard work and commitment of Metro to active transportation in the region. Let us celebrate the adoption of this plan and what a great step forward for our region.

Now, we need to start thinking about how we actually get those regional walking and bicycling networks built. Because if we don’t change the way we make decisions and investments for our transportation system, the walking and bicycling networks which that plan lays out will not be realized for more than 200 years. Even if our current regional rate of investing is active transportation projects were tripled, children born in 2014 would still not have the opportunity to benefit from a comprehensive and complete active transportation network in their lifetime.

As planning, project, and funding decisions are made over the next 6-12 months for our region, stick with us to find out ways you can engage and help support decision making that supports equitable transportation decisions, funding, and your ability to walk.

We’re working with partners like you. Want to get more involved? Sign up as a partner of Safe Routes to School Pacific Northwest and find out how to get involved in one of our newly forming committees — no worries and no commitment, we’ll always ask you if you want to sign on to a letter and you can always change your mind. Contact Kari at

Let’s create a culture of walking.

Provide input on new transit for Powell Blvd & Division St

In a series of open houses, the Metro team and Powell-Division project partners invite residents, transit riders, employers and others to share preferences for the new transit route and vehicle type. These opportunities to provide input, scheduled for late July and early August, will have information boards about the different transit alternatives, and project staff will be available to answer questions and discuss route options and vehicle types.

Draw on maps, use stickies to highlight important areas, vote with dots, and talk with staff about what matters to you for transit in the Powell-Division area.

Open House schedule:

Tuesday, July 22 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement, 2536 SE 122nd Ave., Portland

Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gresham Library, 385 NW Miller Ave., Gresham

The following open house dates include brief presentations at the beginning:

Wednesday, July 30 from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.
Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave., Portland

Monday, Aug. 4 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Oregon Buddhist Temple, 3720 SE 34th Ave., Portland

Drop in any time at the following open houses:

Tuesday, July 22 from 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement, 2536 SE 122nd Ave., Portland

Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gresham Library, 385 NW Miller Ave., Gresham

The following open house dates include brief presentations at the beginning:

Wednesday, July 30 from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.
Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave., Portland

Monday, Aug. 4 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Oregon Buddhist Temple, 3720 SE 34th Ave., Portland