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.

SW Washington Healthy Living Summit 9/23

The Healthy Living Collaborative Summit will be held on September 23 at the Vancouver Hilton

The Summit is an opportunity for community-based organizations to partner with local systems and services to create healthy, safe, and equitable neighborhoods in SW Washington.
More information here. Space is limited. RSVP to, or call 360-952-3396.

Best Practices – Steps You Can Take Now to Create a More Walkable Community

courtesy of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP)

Who is Winning the Race for Walkable Communities?

Whether you’re just heading out or returning from vacation, chances are the places you go for vacation have certain things in common – you can walk most places most days. In these places you feel safe and experience happiness when you’re walking. Many cities large and small throughout North America are discovering that it just might be possible – and profitable – to emulate our favorite walkable vacation destinations. Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide, but certain metro regions are winning the footrace, according to Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros. “This is an important study underlining the economic power of walkable places, and identifying which metro areas are adding them fastest,” said Geoff Anderson, president and CEO of Smart Growth America. “Cities that want to thrive in our new economic and demographic realities will need to find ways to create and support more of these dynamic, productive walkable districts that are in high demand.”

Those planning to be in Pittsburgh in September will have access to a first-ever Walking Institute. Two recognized organizations, America Walks and the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, joined forces with hosts of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference. The Institute is a conference track that offers talks with experts, sessions on lessons learned, choosing the right engineer, kickstarting a community project and creating programs that get people walking.

Giving Way to Walkers

New information sheds light on which places may be the worst for walking. Earlier this month, Governing magazine looked at crash location coordinates for the more than 22,000 pedestrians killed nationwide between 2008 and 2012, and found that poorer neighborhoods have disproportionately higher rates of pedestrian deaths. As article author Mike Maciag noted: “Many cities have made pedestrian safety a priority, but their efforts rarely focus on poorer areas, which have approximately [twice] the fatality rates of wealthier communities.”  Maciag interviewed Scott Bricker, director of the nonprofit America Walks, who agreed saying: “Many [poorer] areas have been neglected from a transportation standpoint. We need to devote much more energy on providing safe transportation options for everyone. Walking is a basic human right.”

Streets for People

Help is on the way for cities large and small. Written and published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the Urban Street Design Guide is one of several reformist NACTO publications that artfully guide cities in making streets work for all users. The APBP Board of Directors has endorsed this and other NACTO guides.

A report from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers: Walking and Bicycling in Small Towns and Rural America was featured in the Aug. 20 APBP webinar on Transform Bicycling and Walking outside the Urban Context. Webinar presenters from small communities in rural Montana and Canada offered model guides and planning documents along with solutions and suggestions for partnerships, particularly between the planning, engineering and public health communities. (The webinar recording is available at

Project Wild Thing

Kids, play, and the great outdoors, what could be better?

Get into the wild frog kiss

British filmmaker David Bond storms our region with a series of events and showings of his epic documentary “Project Wild Thing” about the growing disconnect of children from nature. Activities will include a “Nature Play Swarm” charrette to launch a movement in our region, a symposium, and various film showings.

Activities abound from September 11-15, including:

Saturday, September 13th, at dusk
FREE screening of Project Wild Thing in Sewallcrest Park, SE 31st & Market
Part of Portland’s Summer “Movies in the Park” series.

More information here.


Monday, September 15, 9:00am to 8:00pm 
Regional Nature, Play and Education Symposium
Oregon Zoo, Cascade Crest Banquet Center

Professionals, parents, educators and members of the public are invited to learn and discuss elements of nature-based play with expert panelists in the morning. Stay for the afternoon to hear from inspirational speakers, including keynote speaker David Bond, founder of the play-based British documentary film, “Project Wild Thing.”

Recesses will take place through the day led by local nonprofit Playworks and an option to tour the new natural play area at the Portland Children’s Musuem will be available during lunch.

Registration by Sept. 1 includes breakfast, brown-bag lunch, refreshments (and recess!) for $15. (If you register after Sept. 1, the price is still $15, but breakfast and lunch will not be provided.) Register for the 9/15 symposium.

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.