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.

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 on Facebook or save yourself a spot with 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 kari@saferoutespartnership.org.

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

Pedestrian Safety Action Plan Implementation Grants

In 2012, 700 pedestrians in Oregon were hospitalized and 60 were killed in traffic crashes. Lack of safety – both real and perceived – is consistently cited by the public as one of the biggest concerns that keeps them from walking more in local communities.

crosswalk

Decreasing pedestrian injuries and fatalities in a community requires strong partnerships between a variety of agencies to develop and implement effective strategies at multiple levels. The purpose of the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan Implementation Grants is to enhance community-wide pedestrian safety efforts by strengthening partnerships between partners that have a stake in pedestrian safety, as well as to increase the capacity of local organizations to implement pedestrian safety initiatives.

Learn more and download the application here.

The deadline for applications has been extended to July 28th.

The future of multimodal student transportation

Today, most student transportation departments around the country focus primarily on getting students to school on yellow school buses. But student transportation isn’t just about school buses — especially if you live in the one-to-two-mile radius around a school. Students are also getting to school by foot, bicycle, scooter, car, and public transportation. Decisions about how students travel to school affect their health and safety, as well as traffic congestion, air pollution, and the health and safety of the community at large.

Bus report student cost

A new report out from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership explores collaboration opportunities between Safe Routes to School and School Bus professionals. Buses, Boots, and Bicycles: Exploring Collaboration Between Safe Routes to School and School Busing Professionals to Get Children to School Safely and Healthily (pdf).

Buses, Boots, and Bicycles addresses questions such as:

  • How are students actually getting to school today?
  • What are the policies that dictate how a school district or state approaches student transportation?
  • How are student transportation expenses funded, and how do funding structures vary among states?
  • How do funding formulas create incentives or disincentives for walking, bicycling, and Safe Routes to School?

On Thursday, July 17 at 11:00 a.m. PT, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is hosting a free webinar with representatives from student transportation departments and Safe Routes to School programs to discuss the implications of the Buses Boots & Bicycles report, and to share experiences and ideas for working together.

Register here.

Walking towards safer streets

How does the greater Portland-Metro region get to a place where we have safer streets? Where do we begin to build accessible routes — to transit, to jobs, to schools, to our community centers — for people of all ages and abilities to travel on foot?

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Planning in the greater Portland-Metro region, led by a number of policies that include the 43-year-old “Bike Bill” (ORS 366.514) — which requires the inclusion of facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists wherever a road, street or highway is built or rebuilt — and the region’s urban growth boundary (UGB) — which maintains a dense, urban, livable area — has allowed the region to be a relatively safe, walkable part of the country. Continue reading

Funding in WashCo for “minor transport projects” — apply before 7/15!

Live or work in Washington County and notice your neighborhood is missing a bit of sidewalk, a stretch of bike lane, or another barrier to walking or bicycling in your community? If completed, would that create a new, complete, safe connection for your community? Then Washington County’s Minor Betterment Program (MBP) is for you! Funded by an allocation from the Road Fund (gas taxes). Approximately $500,000 is allocated to this program in fiscal year 2013-2014 to fund small-scale interim improvements which are beyond routine maintenance but not large enough to be programmed as capital improvements.

washingtoncountycrosswalk

This is a great opportunity for Safe Routes to School and active transportation in Washington County. The one-mile radius around a school is typically the area without school bussing, and, when there are good routes, is prime opportunity for students to be able to be active on their way to and from schools — instead of being driven because of real or perceived dangers. Unfortunately, there are often very small gaps in our transportation system that make this task impossible or unsafe. Even half a block of missing sidewalk on a busy road can mean the difference in being driven every day — or being able to and allowed to walk — for a 10-year old student. Continue reading