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.

Livability Fact Sheets Make Land Use and Transportation Concepts Easy to Understand

AARP partnered with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute to create 11 Livability Fact Sheets. Each fact sheet takes a concept – like density, road diets, traffic calming and several others – and explains what it is, how it works, what myths you hear about it, how to get it right, and where to look for success stories. References on the fact sheets list resources.

The package of comprehensive fact sheets can be used by community leaders, policy makers, activists, and other interested citizens to learn more about creating livable communities for all ages.

Livability Fact Sheets

Join us on 11/8 For Every Kid!

Please Join Us As We Kick Off For Every Kid
A new effort for healthy and safe kids in the Metro region

On November 8th, Mayor Jeremy Ferguson of Milwaukie, public health leaders, community organizations, and parents will kick off a new effort, For Every Kid, on the front steps of Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie. Advocates aim to improve the health of kids by calling for safe routes to schools in communities across the tri-county Metro region.

Metro-area kids who most need opportunities for physical activity don’t have the necessary safe infrastructure—sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes—in their communities and around their schools to support a healthy childhood.

Please join us to show your support for this exciting new effort.

For Every Kid Kick-Off Press Conference

When: Saturday, November 8, 2014, 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Please arrive at 9:45 if you would like to make a sign of support!
Where: Linwood Elementary School – front steps
11909 SE Linwood Ave, Milwaukie

In the Metro region, 70% of 8th graders are not getting the exercise they need to be healthy. The kids who most need opportunities for physical activity are the least likely to be able to walk or bike to school safely.

For Every Kid is a growing coalition of the following organizations: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO); Safe Routes to School National Partnership; American Heart Association; Oregon Walks; OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon (OPAL); Coalition For A Livable Future; and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA).

Report: How States are Adapting to Federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)

Since 2005, federal transportation funds have been available for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation, helping to ensure children can walk and bicycle safely to and from school. In 2012, Congress consolidated the federal Safe Routes to School program into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), and made a number of changes to how those funds are awarded to states. A new report by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership examines how different states have adapted to those changes and how they are impacting the availability of and demand for Safe Routes to School funds. For the report, the National Partnership conducted interviews with 10 state department of transportation Safe Routes to School coordinators to gather information about their TAP implementation decisions are affecting Safe Routes to School funding.

While changes under the new law are still being implemented by state departments of transportation, this analysis examines trends in funding for Safe Routes to School, the impact of federal matching requirements on low income communities, and best practices for states to sustain Safe Routes to School programs under the Transportation Alternatives Program.

The full report is available here.

Metro seeks input on Climate Smart Strategy

UPDATE 10/28/2014: To read the full comments submitted by Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Pacific Northwest Region, click here.

Have you heard about Metro’s Climate Smart Strategy? What is Climate Smart?

Metro has been crunching the numbers and they’ve found something interesting: if we build the kinds of places where you and your family can walk, bike, take transit and avoid traffic, we can also dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions. Another thing: if we build a transportation system where freight trucks, kids walking or biking to school, commuters and transit can move efficiently and people have more choices for getting around, we can also dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Metro wants to know your priorities for a Climate Smart region. How can we make a clean, healthy transportation system that gets kids to school, commuters to work and everyone home safely? Can we help freight and transit get where they need to go without getting stuck in so much traffic? Can we build a strong economy and improve equity across the region? And can we meet state-mandated targets for lower greenhouse gas emissions at the same time?

Your voice is important

How we get there matters, and it’s going to take fully investing in our communities’ adopted plans, and our regional government needs to know what is important to you. Metro is taking public input on the Draft Climate Smart Scenarios between September 15 – October 30.
Tell them what you think:

The Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Project draft Climate Smart Strategy is available for public review and comment from Sept. 15 to Oct. 30, 2014.

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Support funding safe streets in Portland

UPDATE: On Monday, October 13th, from 3-5pm, Portland City Council will have its first work session on the fee after months of feedback from committees representing businesses, non-profit, low-income, and transportation groups. Portland City Council and Mayor Hales need to hear from you now that safety is important to you and essential to the city. Please consider attending (no public testimony) to demonstrate to City Council the support of safety and equity by Portlanders.
At Council Chambers, 3-5pm on 10/13.

Funding to ensure and maintain safety on our roadways is as critical to our regional prosperity as it is to livability for Portlanders. Portland has an exemplary program of education and encouragement programs that promote safety and healthy travel options for our kids through Safe Routes to Schools, but many of Portland’s schools sit on or near busy and unsafe streets, and that puts our children—many of whom want or need and do walk or bike to school—at risk of both traffic accidents as well as health problems that arise from not getting enough physical activity.

The connection between transportation and public health is indisputable; the ability to design and build safe streets both possible and necessary. One key way to improve the safety as well as the health of Portlanders—especially our young, minority, and ageing populations, who are most likely to be injured or killed in the simple act of walking to their destination—is through building and maintaining safe, comprehensive, active transportation routes and networks. Choice in our transportation system not only allows us the opportunity to be active and healthy in our daily travel, it also provides all members of the community equitable opportunities to safe and healthy transportation options.

Whether you live, work, study, pray or play in Portland, now is the time for you to speak out strongly in support of safety in transportation projects across the City of Portland.

Email City Council.

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Workshop for RTO grant applications

Metro regional government has released a call for proposals for the 2015-2017 Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grants, and $2.1 million is available to government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

“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.

Grant proposals due December 19, 2014

Safe Routes to School projects are a great fit for this grant opportunity. The National Partnership encourages partners who are interested in applying for RTO funds for a Safe Routes to School project, to attend a Safe Routes to School-focused workshop on 10/29. We are here to help support your efforts in the Metro region to create a balanced, comprehensive multimodal transportation system for students and school-based staff by providing feedback on your application, or through a formal partnership as a sub-applicant.

Please bring your ideas, questions, and thoughts about scope and target population; we will provide a robust workshop to help you fill in the blanks about the RTO grants and how a Safe Routes to School project will work in your School District or town.

When: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 1:30-3:30 in Portland.

RSVP to Kari Schlosshauer by Monday 10/27 for location details and information.


Read more about how Safe Routes to School projects are a great fit for this grant opportunity. Visit Metro’s RTO grant page for more information and to download the application.

Fire Up Your Feet Month Starts Today! Have You Signed Up Yet?

Today marks the first day of the Oregon & SW Washington Fire Up Your Feet Fall Activity Challenge! Are you registered yet? Start by signing up here! We commend you for your dedication to helping support a healthier school environment.

If you’re excited about winning a Fire Up Your Feet Challenge award, then you might want to make use of our new School Standings report. To access the report, click “Activity Tracker” then “School Standings” (located on the left side of the menu bar). Use both the state and the date filter to drill down to activity during the month of October in your region. Once you’re aware of your school’s standing, you may be surprised by how easy it will be for your school to win one or more of our fabulous fall award offerings starting with this week’s Breakout Challenge award:

Breakout Challenge #1 (runs from October 1-7)
Any K-8 school with at least 20 participants that have tracked at least one activity using the coordinator or individual tracker between October 1-7 will be entered into a drawing for one $200 award. Winners will be announced next week. Here are a few helpful hints to increase your school’s chances of winning this and other awards.

  • Want to track an activity for many – even hundreds – of students with just a few clicks? Watch our how-to videos.
  • Want to be sure everyone that counts as a participant? Make sure participants track activity at least once during the Challenge period.
  • Finally, want to cinch the victory? Make sure your school has a minimum of 10 participants by encouraging five parents to register and track, sending flyers home with students, pinning a poster on your school’s bulletin board or inserting a blurb into your school newsletter.

Walk It Out with a Fire Up Your Walk to School Award!
Next Wednesday, October 8, millions of families around the world celebrate International Walk to School Day. Check out our Fire Up Your Walk to School Day tip sheet for ideas to build upon the momentum, and remember that any school with 25 or more walkers tracking their activity this month is eligible for a drawing for a $500 Fire Up Your Walk to School Day award. For inspiration, share this infographic about the benefits of walking and bicycling for kids, your community and the planet.