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.

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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U.S. Surgeon General Launches Campaign with National Call to Action on Walking


Walking is an easy way to get moving — but in too many U.S. communities, it’s not an easy option. Last week, the U.S. surgeon general released Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities, which articulates the health benefits of walking while addressing the fact that many communities unacceptably lack safe and convenient places for individuals to walk or wheelchair roll.

Surgeon General Calls for a Focus on Walkable Communities
Data consistently show there are safety and accessibility issues that make communities less walkable. A 2013 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, found that three out of every 10 Americans reported that no sidewalks existed along any streets in their neighborhood. In many communities violence, and the perception of violence, may prove a barrier to walking.
“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to walk or wheelchair roll. But in too many of our communities, that is not the reality,” said Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th U.S. Surgeon General. “We know that an active lifestyle is critical to achieving good overall health. And walking is a simple, effective and affordable way to build physical activity into our lives. That is why we need to step it up as a country ensuring that everyone can choose to walk in their own communities.”

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Contract work: Outreach Specialist sought

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership seeks an outreach specialist to work under contract to ensure that the National Partnership’s Fire Up Your Feet program engages schools (students, school staff and parents) in Oregon and four counties in Southwest Washington during the fall 2015.

Read full request for proposals here (pdf).

National Partnership Mourns Passing Of Its Founder, Deb Hubsmith

It is with a heavy heart and wonderful memories that the Safe Routes to School National Partnership mourns the passing of its founder, Deb Hubsmith. Deb passed on August 18, 2015 after a hard fought battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Deb dedicated her life to advancing Safe Routes to School, bicycling, and walking at the national, state, regional, and local levels, starting in her home of Marin County, California. We will remember Deb always and celebrate the legacy of her life as the bold, visionary leader of the Safe Routes to School movement.

Our board chair, Risa Wilkerson, has shared a beautiful tribute to Deb’s many accomplishments, here.

The National Partnership appreciates the outpouring of tributes, support, and memories shared about Deb, from many partners and friends.

Getting Fired Up for Autumn

In August, our focus turns to the remaining vacation days we have yet to take… and what too-quickly arrives: the bustle of back to school.

Though the cool days of autumn seem far from us now, we have much to look forward to when it comes to keeping our kids active and healthy. As school schedules settle down, October is an exciting month for keeping routines for walking and biking to school, and getting physical activity throughout the day. Here are two great ways to keep moving in Oregon & SW Washington:

  • Fire Up Your Feet Fall Challenge — October 1-31: Celebrate all forms of physical activity to school and throughout the community. Cash awards based on school participation & staying active during the month-long challenge.
  • Walk+Bike to School Day — Wednesday, October 7: Celebrate this special day with thousands of schools internationally. Can your school reach 100% participation on this day?

In Oregon? Get started with registration here — the first 250 schools to register will receive a package of free incentives, while getting automatically signed up for both the Fire Up Your Feet Challenge and Walk+Bike to School Day.

In SW Washington? Get started here.

Everyone! Check out these & these encouragement ideas for assemblies, poster contests, bike rodeos, and more!

Two new National Partnership reports explore equity & violence prevention

We all need transportation to get to school and work, buy food, find housing, and live our daily lives. But low-income people and people of color in the United States face transportation hurdles, based on historical and ongoing inequities in transportation and community investments, that can mean that just accessing basic needs is time consuming, dangerous, and almost impossible – and that can include the trip to school.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has released two new reports that explore the issues that arise when social inequities and the threat of violence create barriers to active transportation and opportunity for low-income communities and people of color. These publications were made possible through a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association.

At the Intersection of Active Transportation and Equity: Joining Forces to Make Communities Healthier and Fairer (pdf) explores the complexities of equitable active transportation and the issues that arise at the junction of efforts to advance walking and bicycling and work to increase health, fairness, and opportunity for all communities.

Taking Back the Streets and Sidewalks: How Safe Routes to School and Community Safety Initiatives Can Overcome Violence and Crime (pdf) provides a primer for Safe Routes to School professionals looking to address community safety threats that may discourage or endanger students walking or bicycling to school, explains the relevance of Safe Routes to School to violence prevention proponents, and sets out strategies for collaborating to reduce violence and crime, and increase safety and health for children and youth.