About the Pacific Northwest Regional Network and Our Goals
Formed in 2013, the Pacific Northwest Safe Routes to School regional network is a collaborative project of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) and America Walks, and is funded through the generous support of Kaiser Permanente.
The goal of the Pacific Northwest regional network is to build partnerships and leverage resources in the greater Portland, Vancouver and Salem regions to improve policies as well as the built environment to support and encourage physical activity through walking and bicycling to school and in daily life. The Pacific Northwest regional network also provides technical assistance to select Kaiser Permanente partners across the region.
How are Transportation Decisions and Investments Made in the Pacific Northwest?
The Pacific Northwest regional network, covering the greater Portland, Vancouver and Salem regions, encompasses three distinct metropolitan planning organization (MPO) areas. Metro is the MPO serving more than 1.5 million residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the 25 cities in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. Metro is the only regional government agency in the U.S. whose governing body is directly elected by the region’s voters.
The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (SWRTC) is the MPO for the Clark County, Washington, portion of the larger Portland/Vancouver urbanized area. SWRTC is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of elected officials, and also holds a seat on Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT).
The Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments (MWVCOG) is the MPO for more than 40 local governments, including the Salem region. MWVCOG is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of elected officials.
State of Active Transportation in the Pacific Northwest Region
The city of Portland, Oregon, is known nationally as a bikeable, walkable, livable place to call home. The greater Portland region’s MPO, Metro, is responsible for regularly updating the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), the region’s blueprint for a multi-modal transportation system, and guides investments in the region’s transportation system to reduce congestion, build new sidewalks and bicycle facilities, improve transit service and maintain freight access. Metro is currently updating the RTP, with adoption slated for July 2014. Metro is also in the process of creating a Regional Active Transportation Plan (ATP), a regional network of pedestrian and bicycle investments that can increase access to public transit, improve public health, increase energy independence and create walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. The Pacific Northwest regional network is working to provide input and achieve positive outcomes for both the RTP update and for the adoption of the ATP together with the RTP in 2014.
The Pacific Northwest regional network is working in the Metro region to ensure that statewide funds are spent effectively at the local and county level, and that Safe Routes to School and active transportation policies and practices are adopted locally and proliferate throughout the region.
Taking Action for Safe and Healthy Communities
Increasing physical activity through safe walking and bicycling trips not only benefits people’s health; it also reduces congestion and improves air quality. Communities can take action to create safer and healthier communities by adopting smart policies and building sustainable and robust Safe Routes to School programs.
The policy platform for the region was developed with input from our partners across the Pacific Northwest. This document is meant to be fluid and if you or your organization has recommendations or questions, we would love to hear them. Download the PDF.