Oregon’s New Transportation Bill Includes Ongoing Dedicated Funding for Safe Routes to School

We’re beyond pleased to announce that the 2017 Oregon Legislature passed a state transportation funding plan that invests in a cleaner, healthier transportation system to provide safer options for Oregonians, however they travel. We applaud our Oregon leaders for making adjustments to the bill that allowed the Legislature to approve it and move Oregon forward with a transportation plan that will create more affordable and healthy travel options for Oregonians across the state.

In addition to a massive investment in transit and trails of more than $100 million each year, and a sensible focus on “fix-it-first” maintenance funding for our roadways and bridges, new funding from the bill will provide $10 million annual investment for Safe Routes to School street safety improvements – bumping up to $15 million annual investment in perpetuity starting in 2022. This funding is for safety projects to improve safety for people walking and biking in the 1-mile radius of schools (commonly known as the “walk zone”). This level of ongoing, dedicated investment for school travel safety — and the positive impacts it will have on the health and safety of our communities — is unprecedented in Oregon, and will ensure more and more youth in Oregon can safely walk and roll to school and in their communities.

This is a big 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. These students do not typically have a school bus pick them up, and many also do not currently have a safe walking route to their school. We know that lower income communities tend to also be the communities that are under-invested in transportation safety; these communities are at risk from traffic exposure on a daily basis. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership advocated for outright prioritization of these communities for funding during the legislative session, and though we did not see that in the final bill, we are still glad to see Title I schools have been prioritized for street safety investments with a lower matching funds requirement (20% vs 40%), which may result in a de facto prioritization.

SR2S_INFOGRAPHIC_sidewalks2 Continue reading

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

Metro RFFA Award Recommendations

Oregon Metro, the Portland area’s regional government, is currently finalizing funding recommendations for the active transportation and freight project applications to the Regional Flexible Fund Allocation (RFFA). RFFA is money from the federal government that can be used for a wide range of transportation projects across the Portland region – considered “flexible” because the funds are not restricted to projects on highways. In this round, $33 million is available for transportation projects, including walking, bicycling, access to schools and transit, with a quarter of the funds directed to freight-specific projects:

  • $25.81 million for active transportation/complete streets projects that make it safer and easier for people to walk, ride bicycles or get to transit and other destinations such as school and work.
  • $7.34 million for regional freight investments, projects that improve access to freight hubs and industrial areas and improve safety on freight routes.

Thirty-two projects were submitted to this 2019-21 RFFA cycle from cities and counties across the region, including 27 projects to the Active Transportation/Complete Streets funding stream. Total funding requested across all projects totaled more than $100 million, far exceeding the amount available. The vast majority of the funding requests were for Active Transportation/Complete Streets projects, totaling approximately $93 million and demonstrating a significant need for more funding for walking and bicycling projects in this region. Continue reading

Metro regional funding builds support for access to schools

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 and needs.

(c) Jonathan Maus, BikePortland

The most recent RTO grant cycle, which runs from July 2017 through June 2019, just announced 17 grant awards worth $2.5 million.This grant cycle attracted an overwhelming number of strong applicants, requesting a total of $3.5 million – over a million dollars more than the program was able to fund. Across the region, applicants were awarded grants for projects to make it easier for people to walk, bike, take transit or carpool; Safe Routes to School projects made up nearly a quarter of those award funds, through four projects across the region:

  • Beaverton Safe Routes & Beaverton School District will continue their Safe Routes to School program that started with an RTO grant in 2015, strengthening and expanding work focused on students and families living within the walk zone.
  • City of Tigard will continue their successful Tigard Safe Routes to School program that started with an RTO grant in 2015, focusing on all Tigard schools in Tigard-Tualatin School District.
  • Multnomah County will expand their Safe Routes to School program that has existed in the past based on state and county funds, focusing on schools in East Multnomah County.
  • Community Cycling Center will build a community-based Safe Routes to School program in North Portland.

Congratulations all!

$33 million for walking, biking and moving freight in the Portland region: VOTE

Help decide how $33m will be spent on projects to improve walking, biking and moving freight. Could part of it be spent near you to improve ways of getting around for your family?

Cities from across the Portland region have submitted projects to compete for these federal funds, and submitted project proposals requesting more than three times as much as is available. This is where you come in: review project proposals & use the interactive comment map at oregonmetro.gov/rffa – and then tell Metro what you think and help them prioritize and give feedback on the projects.

Things to consider:

  • Is a painted bike lane safe enough for an eight year old to travel to school along a 40 mph freight corridor, or should it be sent back to be re-worked as a separated bike facility?
  • Should an investment in Safe Routes to School access projects around one of the region’s greatest need school districts, David Douglas, be given a higher priority so that the largest high school in the state can provide safer access on foot and bike?
  • Which proposed pedestrian/bicycle bridge gets your vote for best project?

Comment now through Monday, November 7! (And remember to vote on November 8!)

There will be a public hearing, 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, at Metro Regional Center, 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland. Public testimony will be welcomed!

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WA: Grant Funding for School Districts Currently Available

School Districts in Washington, take note. Cascade Bicycle Club and Feet First are offering a mini grant program to get more kids moving more. Let them support your efforts to increase the number of children bicycling and walking to school — funding is available to 25 schools or school districts across WA toward this goal.

Applications Due: currently accepting applications on a rolling basis. (Note work must be completed by June 1, 2017.)

Recipient Eligibility: Public schools grades 5th-8th in Washington State are eligible for funding, however only one award will be made per district. Single schools can apply OR a district can apply if it is confident that it can serve more than one school and fulfill the program requirements. Highest priority will be given to eligible schools who have not already received Safe Routes to School funding.

Funding may be used for:
● Safety Equipment (e.g. flags, vests, reflectors, bike bells, etc.)
● Stipends for walking school bus or bike train coordinator (Only eligible if your school/ district has a higher rate of free and reduced lunch recipients than the state average. In 2016 the state average is 44%.)
● Outreach and Awareness (advertisements, posters, mailings, fliers)
● Bike Helmets

Don’t miss this great opportunity to boost safety, outreach, and awareness of safe school travel! Read the full eligibility criteria and download the application (pdf).

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