Safe Routes to School in the Pacific Northwest

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To advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools; to improve the health and well-being of kids of all races, income levels, and abilities; and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone.

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 places 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.

Our analysis: Oregon ‘Transportation Package’ misses the crosswalk on Safe Routes to School funding

Last week, the Oregon Legislature released the long-awaited transportation package in bill form, as House Bill (HB) 2017 (note: 298 pages!). We are pleased to see the Oregon Legislature dedicate funding in HB 2017 to ensure more youth in Oregon can safely walk and roll to school. This is a step in the right direction for the hundreds of thousands of students in Oregon who currently live within their school’s 1-mile walk zone but do not have a safe route to their school, nor a program to support and encourage their safe and active school transportation.

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Oregon Safe Routes to School

However, as HB 2017’s Section 123, the section that deals with Safe Routes to School funding, is currently written, we are gravely concerned that:

  • The youth who need a safe route to school the most will be prevented from receiving one at all. Low-Income, Title I schools do not have the funds to match 40% — or even 25% — of a safety improvement project, and not all cities or towns have policies in place that prioritize those low-income schools that typically have the most street safety needs.
  • If only 1/4-mile infrastructure improvements are made, we will continue to see unsafe road situations on primary walking routes around schools. School ‘walk zones’ for elementary students are one mile from school — these students have no yellow school bus and often no additional transportation support from the school.
  • Schools with improved walking routes will not realize the full potential travel mode shift because there is no funding in this bill to support the related Safe Routes to School education and encouragement programming.
  • When the funding sunsets in 10 years, only a fraction of schools will have received any safety benefits, and those that do will only see partial (1/4) benefit. Related traffic safety, air quality, and youth obesity and health concerns will continue, as high numbers of students who live within walking distance are likely to continue to be driven in a private vehicle — until schools and families see true safety investments in place.

We are disappointed to see the language in HB 2017 for Safe Routes to School is significantly weaker than that of HB 3230 (PDF), which already passed out of the House Committee on Transportation earlier this session.

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Get Salem Moving!

It’s a wrap: Building an Active & Age-Friendly Transportation Network

May 24, Salem, OR – The National Partnership, with support from AARP Oregon, Kaiser Permanente, Oregon’s Transportation & Growth Management Program, and the City of Salem, brought two walkability workshops to the City of Salem, Oregon. Following an introduction from Salem’s Mayor Bennett, two dozen staff from the city, county, regional and state government joined a walking audit around downtown Salem with nationally-renowned walking expert Dan Burden, best known for his work with Walk Score. Mr Burden then led the staff in a mapping exercise on how to build walkability into the city’s existing and future plans and make Salem a more walkable destination.

 

That same evening, more than 30 community members joined us at the Center 50+, a community center for older adults, for a walking audit through the nearby neighborhood. Mr. Burden gave a short presentation on how the community can support and encourage the city’s efforts toward walkability, and answered questions about how individuals can help build an active & age-friendly transportation network in Salem.

Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager Kari Schlosshauer will continue to work with leaders in Salem to support family-friendly transportation projects such as the proposed Maple-Winter Bikeway that connect the community with safe, healthy travel options to get to where they need to go, and make Salem a more walkable, livable community for people of all ages and abilities. Learn more and get involved by contacting our staff in the Pacific Northwest.

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Borrow The Slow Way Home film

In Japan, 98 percent of children walk to school.

In the United States, only 13 percent do.

It’s time for a change.

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The documentary The Slow Way Home looks at how students travel to school in Japan & US, considers why so few kids in the U.S. walk to school, and asks what WE can do to change that. It also features students, families, and local celebrities from Milwaukie, Oregon City, and Portland, OR!

Would you like to screen this film for a group of people in your area, your organization, or just watch it with your family? We have a copy of the film and would be more than happy to lend it to you — just fill out this borrowing form and we’ll get you on the list!

 

Public Comment: Salem-Keizer Area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Salem Keizer Area Transportation Study (SKATS) invites you to review and comment on the FY 2018-2023 TIP – how transportation dollars can be spent over the next six years on transit, roadways, and bike and pedestrian facilities.

Comments on the TIP will be accepted until April 11, 2017. A public hearing is scheduled on April 25, 2017. 

Public Hearing for the SKATS Draft FY 2018-2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Air Quality Conformity Determination (AQCD).

Date: April 25, 2017
Time: Noon
Where: 100 High Street SE, Suite 200, Salem, OR 97301

Send comments to: Karen Odenthal 503-540-1608 or kodenthal@mwvcog.org

More information, including an interactive map, and the opportunity to comment online, can be found on the MWVCOG website.

Below are the proposed Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects for the 2018-2023 TIP: Continue reading

Helping create a healthier, more equitable & prosperous future – join us!

UPDATED 3/23/17 – Read Metro Council’s response to our coalition letter.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s work in the Pacific Northwest seeks to improve the health and well-being of kids of all races, income levels, and abilities; and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone. This week, we were beyond proud to join eight strong coalition partners in the Portland-Metro area, in support of a robust, equitable vision for regional funding that meets our transportation needs for years to come.

We know our region is stronger when we all have options for safe, quality, affordable housing with access to jobs, school, services and amenities to help preserve our region’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. In addition to maintaining existing roadways and providing access for freight movement and to population areas, the region’s governments must invest in safe and high-quality facilities throughout the region for people who walk, use transit, and ride a bicycle — in short, for everyone.

In our letter to TriMet and Oregon Metro, we call for the region’s partners to work together to put forward a robust and balanced regional transportation funding proposal that meets the region’s needs and considers six key principles: Transportation Operations Support, Active Transportation Infrastructure, Transit Infrastructure, Equitable Outcomes & Community Benefits, Highway Congestion Mitigation, and Equitable Housing Development.

Thanks to our foundation partners who helped get this moving: AARP Oregon, APANO, OPAL Environmental Justice, Welcome Home Coalition, Community Cycling Center, Oregon Walks, Street Trust, and 1000 Friends of Oregon. We look forward to growing this strong coalition and working with our regional leaders who seek to collaborate and advance funding to meet the region’s needs for the next generation.

Read our full coalition letter here.

What’s next?

We are building this movement for much-needed funding in the region to support the many ways our community wants and needs to use our transportation systems. We encourage our partners to read our coalition letter and join us in support of this important work for the greater Portland region.

Questions? Please feel free to contact our Regional Policy Manager Kari Schlosshauer at 503-734-0813 or kari@saferoutespartnership.org

How should Portland spend $8M to improve safe access around schools?

Provide input on Safe Routes to School in March & April to have your say

Fixing Our Streets is a locally-funded street repair and traffic safety initiative that will bring much needed street improvement and safety projects to neighborhoods across Portland. It is expected to provide approximately $8 million for school neighborhood improvements along walking and biking routes to school — around $500,000 dedicated to each High School cluster (including the elementary and middle schools that feed into a particular high school).

(c) Jonathan Maus, BikePortland

Tell them what you think needs to happen around the schools to make walking and rolling to school safer and easier. Portland’s robust Safe Routes to School team hasn’t ever had this much money to spend on safety projects around schools, and now is the time to weigh in — especially if you access a school in the Portland Public (PPS), Parkrose, David Douglas, Reynolds, or Centennial School Districts.

If your student attends a PPS or Parkrose school, you can attend an Open House event to provide input (see schedule below). For David Douglas, Centennial, and Reynolds schools within Portland city limits, Portland’s Safe Routes to School staff will be organizing engagement opportunities at your schools – learn more: bit.ly/OpenHouseSRTS.

HOW TO GET YOUR VOICE HEARD

  • Attend a SRTS Fixing Our Streets Open House (see dates below)
  • Attend a Walk Audit with SRTS (specific schools in Wilson Cluster only)
  • Attend a Walk Audit with Oregon Walks (specific Title I schools in PPS only)
    ‐ visit OregonWalks.org/HealthyTravel2School for details
  • Submit specific concerns at saferoutespdx.org (for PPS schools only)
  • Host a pop‐up open house at your school to collect comments from parents
    (SRTS will provide the materials!)

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‘Safe Routes to School 101’ Primer Now Available in Spanish and Russian

If you are, or want to be, working with Russian- or Spanish-speaking communities* and need basic resources to start a conversation and let community members know more about Safe Routes to School, please feel free to download and use our Safe Routes to School Primer translations!

The Primer is a great conversation starter, guide, or leave-behind. Learn more about Safe Routes to School, including essential elements to consider when establishing a program and helpful statistics on the many benefits of Safe Routes to School in your community.

Un manual sobre las rutas seguras a la escuela

Краткое руководство по реализации программы Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School Primer

*Best practice for community outreach involves more than just translated materials. Be sure to go where your community is, don’t ask them to come to you. It is vital to translate documents and have translation at meetings in communities with populations of non-English speakers. Think about how to reach non-native speakers beforehand, including use of radio and community newspapers. [Adapted from FRESC: http://fresc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Best-Practices-for-Community-Engagement.pdf%5D