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 Regional Safe Routes to School Framework now available for download

Now available! Metro Regional Safe Routes to School Framework, a project that collected data about current and historic funding and programming for school travel initiatives; identified the schools with the greatest need for safety improvements, the greatest potential impact, and equity needs; produced School Area Maps for each school in the Portland Metro region; identified best practices for regional Safe Routes to School programs; and proposed next steps for Metro regional government to support local jurisdictions’ efforts around Safe Routes to School and school transportation.

The final report, as well as School Area Maps for each district, can be found and downloaded here.

$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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Funding Opportunity: Metro Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grants — $2.5M Available

Metro regional government has released a call for proposals for the 2017-2019 Regional Travel Options (RTO) Grants, and $2.5 million is available to government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the Portland Metro region, to 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.

Grant proposals due September 23, 2016

“It’s not enough just to build a transportation system with options to walk, bike, take transit or ride share. People need to know how to access those options and understand the benefits. That’s where Metro’s Regional Travel Options program comes in.”

Many Travel Options projects benefit youth and families, providing safe and healthy opportunities for active travel in communities around the region, and Safe Routes to School projects are a great fit for this grant opportunity. In the last grantmaking round:

  • Living Cully was a grant recipient to support their work incorporating a long-term, community-based and collaborative strategy to address multiple disparities in health, income, education, community engagement and natural resources; in doing so, Living Cully is helping children and families overcome barriers to travel options in their neighborhood.
  • The Beaverton School District received funding to reignite its Safe Routes to School program. For the past year, BSD provided school-appropriate programs and training to help communities and students reduce reliance on private auto travel and help them find and choose non-drive alone options, also helping reduce reliance on busing students to these schools.
  • Portland Public School District received funding for a project intended to close infrastructure equity gaps, overcome cultural barriers to walking or biking to school, reduce school site vehicle trip generation and increase safety within the Portland Public Schools student active transportation network.
  • The City of Tigard received a grant to initiate a Safe Routes to School program that acknowledged the work that needs to be done and made a commitment to do it. The city is successfully engaging schools, government agencies, parents and kids to make walking and biking to school a practical and fun activity through a city-wide Safe Routes to School Program.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership, working in the Pacific Northwest, is here to help support your efforts in the Metro region to create a balanced, comprehensive multimodal transportation system for students and school-based staff through discussion of project ideas, providing feedback on your application, or via a formal partnership as a co-applicant.

The National Partnership encourages partners who are interested in applying for RTO funds for a Safe Routes to School-focused project, to get in touch with us. We can help provide technical assistance on your application, match you up with other appropriate regional partners who wish to apply, and answer questions about the RTO grants and how a Safe Routes to School project would work in your School District or town. Contact the Safe Routes to School Pacific Northwest Regional Policy Manager, Kari Schlosshauer, at kari@saferoutespartnership.org for more information.

Read on to find out who’s eligible to apply, how much is available for a project, when you need to apply, and how to get more information and help.

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Two May Votes Bring Big Investments in Safe Routes to School

Two days after the City of Portland’s voters passed a 10¢ gas tax to fund street safety improvements including $8 million for needed crosswalks and sidewalks around Portland schools, the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization, Metro, voted to also make a large, dedicated investment in Safe Routes to School for our region’s youth.

The For Every Kid Coalition, of which we are a founding member, represents 89 coalition partners, 9 school districts, 5 cities, and thousands of parents, youth, and residents of all ages, spanning all three counties in the Portland Metro region. Due to the tenacious work of this coalition over the past two years, targeting dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School investments in the region, Oregon Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) voted to allocate a dedicated investment in Safe Routes to School.

The final vote dedicated $500,000 per year for Safe Routes to School programming, plus at least $2 million for street improvements near Title 1 (low-income) schools, and trails. The vote also preserved $25.76 million for walking and biking street safety projects across the region.

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About the For Every Kid Coalition
The For Every Kid Coalition formed in 2014 to focus on gaining dedicated funding for Safe Routes to School programming and street safety projects. The following organizations are members of the coalition: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO); Safe Routes to School National Partnership; American Heart Association; Oregon Walks; OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon (OPAL); Coalition For A Livable Future; Community Cycling Center, the Community Alliance of Tenants, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), and many more.

Tell Metro your thoughts on transportation funding

Oregon Metro Public Comments on Transportation Funding Now Open

Oregon Metro has released a 10-minute survey for public comment into transportation funding, housing and equity in the Portland Metro region.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s Pacific Northwest regional policy manager and other regional partners have been working closely with Metro to ensure the region’s goals and focus are translated into funding for appropriate projects that will achieve those goals. We have attended numerous workshops discussing the Regional Flexible Funding policy-setting process — now it’s your turn to share your opinions on how federal funds for transportation projects in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties should be allocated later this year.

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That green line represents the 200+ years it will take to build the region’s active transportation system, at historic funding levels. Source: Roger Geller, Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The survey also asks about trends and issues people think leaders should focus on as Metro begins a major update of the Regional Transportation Plan, and requests feedback on questions concerning accessibility and affordability for underrepresented communities. The chart above show that historically, walking and bicycling transportation investments are significantly lower and slower than investments for highways, bridges, freight, and transit; accessibility and affordability in housing is closely related to transportation options available.

This survey will close on Tuesday, February 16. Take the survey: http://bit.ly/tellmetro

Metro and leaders across the region will use survey responses to help set policies to guide future transportation projects across the region. As you consider the survey questions around transportation funding, it’s important to remember that: Continue reading

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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