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.

Public Hearing 3/18: Clackamas County Active Transportation Plan

Clackamas County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 9:30am on Wednesday, March 18th at the County’s Development Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City, to consider the Clackamas County Active Transportation Plan (ATP).

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The purpose of the ATP project is to identify principal active transportation (PAT) routes that connect destinations and communities in Clackamas County.  In both the urban and rural areas of the county, 24 PAT routes have been identified through county and public input, to provide access to services such as transit, schools, shopping and employment centers, and to recreation and exercise.

Support for this important project for Clackamas County needs to be heard. Please write your County Commissioners about the ATP, and plan to attend the Public Hearing on 3/18 if you’re able.

Some important themes that emerged during the year-long project include:

  • The importance of providing access to schools and other significant destinations.  Several schools are located along these routes and facility improvements to and from these institutions will be beneficial to everyone.
  • Positive impact on health of providing infrastructure that allows people to safely walk or bicycle for utilitarian trips and commuting as well as for recreation. Many parts of the County lack safe infrastructure for people to walk and bike. Providing choices is an important aspect to a well-rounded and equitable transportation system.

Support the future of safe, healthy, and equitable choice in transportation for Clackamas County by letting County Commissioners hear why a plan for safe walking and bicycling routes — including access to schools, town centers, and transit for jobs — is important for residents of Clackamas County.

Speak up in support of Clackamas County’s ATP. Please attend the Public Hearing on Wednesday, March 18, at 9:30am.

For more information, the ATP Executive Summary can be found here (pdf).

March brings a pair of Active Transportation Summits to the Pacific Northwest

March 16-17 | Olympia, Washington

The Washington Bike Summit will host advocates and professionals for the two-day conference that includes a mix of professional workshops and advocate trainings, plus the Summit will host a legislative reception on the evening of March 16, and Transportation Advocacy Day at the capitol on March 17.

More info including full agenda & registration. Note, the full summit is sold out but there are options to attend certain days or events.


March 30-31 | Portland, Oregon

2015 Oregon Active Transportation Summit: Creating Healthy, Vibrant Communities

The Oregon Active Transportation Summit brings great Safe Routes content!
The full agenda is now rolling for the 2015 Oregon Active Transportation Summit featuring Keynote speakers Paul Steely-White of New York’s Transportation Alternatives, and Melissa R. Wells of PolicyLink in Washington, D.C.

Featuring the Cool School Bike Parking mobile workshop; plus a great selection of panels including: Making Active Transportation Viable to Middle and High School Students; Grappling with the Complexity of Equity and Walkability; Safe Routes to School: New Partnerships for Regional Health Equity; How Large Institutions’ Decisions Affect Active Transportation; and more.

More info, including Full Agenda (pdf) & registration (closes 3/23).

Don’t miss the Oregon Safe Routes to School Network Annual Meeting during the AT Summit: Tuesday, March 31, 1-3pm RSVP

Regional funding looks at students’ travel needs

Arguably, transportation investments made for one part of a community can benefit others — such as a street to a new development, which serves people driving to and from their homes and service deliveries, but also serves older adults who walk for health, exercise, and to maintain social connections, as well as youth walking or bicycling to and from school, the library, or their local playground.

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Roadway infrastructure investments are relatively clear cut, but the often understated and “softer” side of transportation — what’s typically referred to as travel options — involves a focus on the education and encouragement of specific populations toward their travel options, and why and how they should use them.

In the Portland Metro region, Regional Travel Options (RTO) grants fund projects 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. While this funding opportunity has traditionally focused on employer-based, commuting, and adult needs for travel options, there is a very real need for our youth to also be the recipient of education and encouragement focused on their unique travel options.

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Fire Up Your Feet Rewards Active Kids and Families

The evidence is in: kids who are physically active arrive at school more ready to focus and learn in class. Schools and families across the country are eager to make changes to keep kids moving and active – and Fire Up Your Feet is your go-to program to motivate your kids and community and earn awards that can support real change at your school.

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This spring, Fire Up Your Feet is offering even more awards to schools participating in the Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge. With multiple awards in several categories, schools have even more chances to win awards to support physical activity and wellness programs.

Save the date for the the Spring Challenge in Oregon and SW Washington: May 1-31, 2015. Click here for more information about awards and how to sign up.

How We Get There Matters

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A huge thank you to the more than 70 attendees participated in the Intertwine’s Active Transportation Forum on January 27 at PSU’s Native American Cultural Center, where many great conversations were had. Folks from planning, advocacy organizations, health, environment, trails, finance, and more came together to help solidify the answer to the question, If active transportation projects are of regional significance, how can we better define them to succeed?

An ever-increasing body of research confirms the direct connection between transportation options and job growth, economic vitality, and human and environmental health. Frequently, however, transportation funding conversations dismiss walking and bicycling as local concerns that have little regional impact, meaning we do not make headway when it comes to building projects.

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We heard from a panel of eight great presenters who each “made the case” from a unique perspective, of how we can and should re-think walking, bicycling, and transit trips:

  • Jenny Cadigan, Executive Director, WTA – Reducing drive alone commute trips
  • Lynn Weigand, Project Coordinator, East Multnomah County Bicycle Tourism Initiative, Gresham Chamber of Commerce – Projects that add up to Bicycle Tourism
  • Eric Hesse, Strategic Planning Coordinator, TriMet – Access to transit: the last mile of a regional trip
  • Shelley Oylear, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Washington County – Suburban greenways retrofitting the suburbs: regional impact of a network
  • Jessica Horning – Transit and Active Transportation Liaison, ODOT Region 1 – 82nd Ave/Jade District corridor: When a main street is regional
  • Jenna Stanke Marmon, Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager, Jackson County Roads & ParksConnect Oregon and the statewide economic benefits of active transportation projects
  • Amanda Garcia-Snell, Health Promotion Supervisor, Washington County – Reducing health care costs, increasing safety
  • Mary Kyle McCurdy, Policy Director and Staff Attorney, 1,000 Friends Oregon – Why active transportation was included in a state transportation funding proposal

Special thanks to Craig Beebe from Metro for serving as “documentarian” and to Luann Algoso from APANO for filming the forum.

What’s next?

“I’ve already been using some of the concepts we talked about in various conversations.”

Over the next few months, the comments and ideas gathered during the January 2015 How We Get There Matters Forum will be analyzed and refined into a report back that will be made public here.

“Multiple threads from the day’s discussion continued on outside the room and on down the street.”

We know there is a great need to continue these conversations, and to add to them, which was confirmed by the energy in the room as well as the difficulty keeping the conversation to one topic at a time. We are already at work planning the next forum, and welcome your input. Please email Kari if you are interested in getting involved.

“We should be done asking this question. We need to be more productive.”

One participant’s statement hung in the air that really got at the heart of why The IntertwineMetro, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and Portland State University’s Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation brought this forum together. We very much look forward to keeping this conversation going, and being more productive. Thank you for attending, and we look forward to continuing this work with you.

Dropbox link to the presentation here (large pdf).

How did we get here?

For a bit of recent history, we look back. In September 2013, a Regional Walkability Summit was held in Beaverton. The Walkability Summit convened local experts, decision makers and other stakeholders from communities around the state – including many who attended this first How We Get There Matters forum. That group came together to discuss how we could make real change to increase active daily lifestyles and physical activity and improve walkability through environmental change strategies, especially in underserved communities.

Since then, we have seen a renewed interest and commitment to improving walkability. A few examples of what has happened in the past year:

  • The City of Tigard has declared its desire to become the “most walkable community in the Northwest”;
  • The City of Milwaukie has taken steps toward improving its walkable and bikeable connections by focusing on two things: the improvements coming to town via the new Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail line; and filling in gaps in the walking and bicycling network in the area directly around Milwaukie schools;
  • Metro regional government passed first-of-their-kind Regional Active Transportation Plan and tailpipe-emission-reducing Climate Smart Strategies;
  • Bicycle and pedestrian projects were eligible for the first time ever for state “ConnectOregon” funding, which totaled more than $42 million in 2014; and
  • The Intertwine Alliance held a summit in Spring 2014 with a focus that included Active Transportation.

While we have, individually and collectively, done a remarkable number of things to improve walkability, bikeability, and active transportation access – the fact remains that, here in the Metro region, we have much more to do:

  • The 2010 mode share for walking and bicycling trips was 12%;
  • Our regional goal is to triple the mode share for walking and bicycling to 36% by 2040;
  • Currently, approximately $10 million is spent annually on stand-alone pedestrian, bicycle, and trail projects, which represents just 3% of the $433 million federal and state capital funds spent annually on transportation in the region; and
  • Only 55% of all roadways in the regional pedestrian network have sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Great Job: Project Coordinator in SW Washington

The Healthy Living Collaborative of Southwest Washington (HLC) is looking for a Project Coordinator to be responsible for coordinating environmental strategies to promote health, strategies to build support for healthy lifestyles, health systems interventions to promote the quality of healthcare delivery, and community clinical linkages. This position is Full-Time and will be housed at the ESD 112 Vancouver Campus providing services throughout Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and Skamania counties.

This is a great opportunity to, among other things, support and promote active living initiatives in SW Washington, including Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School. HLC provides leadership, project management and coordination to ensure that the deliverables of the state and local public health actions to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are accomplished.

For more information & the full job posting: https://www2.swrdc.wa-k12.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wesd112s71/rappljoblst050.w. (Then scroll to find “Project Coordinator – HLC” and click to view.)

Report: Healthy Students, Thriving Districts

When students participate in Safe Routes to School programs, they arrive at school safely, on time, and ready to learn. These programs help to develop healthy students with good attendance, and they support schools in achieving their mission of educating children
and youth.
SRTS + District Policies
Check out our new resource and learn about how School Districts, students, and the surrounding community all benefit from including Safe Routes to School in their district policies.