Safe Routes to School in the Pacific Northwest

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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.

Metro seeks input on Climate Smart Strategy

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: makeagreatplace.org.

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.

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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.

Portland’s Draft 2035 Comprehensive Plan

Public hearings – October 14, 28, and November 4

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The Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) is holding public hearings around the city. Portlanders are invited to share their feedback about the proposed draft at the following events:

Tuesday, October 14, 5 – 9 p.m.
Parkrose High School, Student Center
12003 NE Shaver Street

Tuesday, October 28, 5 – 9 p.m.
Portland Community College Southeast Center, Community Hall
2305 82nd Avenue

Tuesday, November 4, 4 – 8 p.m.
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500A

Public testimony is vital at this point in the process. All comments will be considered by the PSC as they discuss and deliberate on the goals, policies and map changes in the proposed draft. The official advisory body to City Council, the PSC will ultimately submit a recommended draft to Council for consideration. Once adopted the plan goes on to the state for acknowledgement.

But first, the Planning and Sustainability Commission wants to hear from you. To learn more about the draft Comprehensive Plan, including proposed land use changes, goals and policies, the Transportation Systems Plan and the Citywide Systems Plan, you can view presentations, maps, videos and more with the Online Open House.

Join us at CLF’s 2014 Regional Livability Summit on 10/3

Join us at the Coalition for a Livable Future’s 2014 Regional Livability Summit
Pathways to Prosperity: Advancing Economic Justice
Friday, October 3rd @ Portland State University

Including our own panel: Transportation Funding Working for the People
This discussion will focus on transportation funding in the region — we will discuss the importance of healthy, active transportation for our region, and how we can build out the regional active transportation network through meaningfully involving communities most in need. What do people in our communities really need to be able to get around safely and easily to the places they need to go? Why haven’t we found the money yet to make connectivity and safety improvements happen in the communities that need it most? Who’s working on getting it done equitably and quickly? The fishbowl-style session will be a roundtable discussion and include an open seat for audience participation.

More information & registration.