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.

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

HWGTM_Q1_participants

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.

HWGTM_Q1_panel

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.

How We Get There Matters – Winter 2015

Please join us for an upcoming Regional Active Transportation Forum on Tuesday, January 27, 1-5 p.m.

Are active transportation projects of regional significance? Contribute to a discussion about different ways to define “projects of regional significance” and help develop answers to a question that could guide future investments in transportation.

Speakers from various perspectives will make the case for what it means to be regional in transportation, with the intention of cultivating an open and ongoing discussion. Topics will include:

  • Transit access & last-mile accommodation
  • Commute-trip reduction strategies
  • When a main street is both a community center and a regional corridor
  • Economic development through active transportation tourism
  • More!

Space is limited, register today. More details coming soon.

“How We Get There Matters” is an Intertwine Alliance forum on active transportation sponsored in partnership with Metro, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and Portland State University’s Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation.

Crosswalk improvements come to Old Town

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

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A highly successful BetterBlockPDX pilot project in October in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown demonstrated what can be done to improve walkability by re-imagining under-used street space as bike lanes, crosswalks, and plazas for people.

Just two months later, the City of Portland is already moving forward on making improvements permanent. The first of new crosswalks in Old Town was installed at a very needed location – NW 2nd & NW Couch.

Happy Holidays!