(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
safe routes to school
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) will mark a big milestone this week: the 50,000th student to graduate from their bike safety education program since they began teaching in Portland schools in 1998. To celebrate the occasion, they've teamed up with the Harrington Family Foundation for an event and ceremonial bike ride with fifth graders on Thursday in northeast Portland.
The Harrington Family Foundation was started by former NFL player and University of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington. Back in August 2011, a person struck Harrington with their car while he was biking on SE Foster Road. That collision thrust Harrington and his foundation into bike safety activism and they created the Bridges to Breakers charity ride as a result. The stated mission of that ride is to, "create safer streets for bicyclists through education with the aim of reducing and preventing injuries to children." (more...)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is going high-tech with their vaunted Safe Routes to School program. In an effort to motivate kids to bike and walk to school, they've purchased a product that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to automatically track school travel trips.
PBOT has won a $35,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation that they intend to use for bike parking and for the purchase of a The Hub, a software package from Saris Cycling Group*. Gabe Graff, who manages PBOT's Safe Routes program, says they plan to implement The Hub at four of the 80 schools that receive the program. (more...)
Bike Shelter Project Development Guide.
In an effort to make bicycling even more appealing to students, staff, and parents, Portland Public Schools (PPS) now offers a Bike Shelter Project Development Guide (PDF).
The new guide was developed in conjuction with the City of Portland's Safe Routes to School program. PBOT's Safe Routes team has been building momentum for more bike shelters since (at least) March 2010, when they installed shelters at four local schools. According to Safe Routes staffer Clay Veka, the PPS guide emerged from talks between local school leaders and PBOT back in February. (more...)
The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) wants to start the Safe Routes to School season with a bang. This Saturday (April 7th) they'll host a free event at Russell Academy School in northeast Portland with bike repair classes, activities for kids of all ages, free lunch, and a community bike ride.
Portland has a lot to celebrate when it comes to Safe Routes to School. With transportation safety a top priority by Mayor Sam Adams since he took over PBOT as commissioner back in 2004, the amount of Portland Public Schools involved with the Safe Routes program has skyrocketed. In recent years, PBOT's commitment to building a network of family-friendly residential streets known as Neighborhood Greenways, has dovetailed perfectly with their Safe Routes work (Beach School in North Portland being a good example).
This just in from ODOT... They are looking to fill vacancies on their Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee:
The Oregon Department of Transportation is seeking people interested in filling two vacancies for the nine-member Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee. The two stakeholder positions available represent bicycle-based advocacy groups and local traffic safety committee or neighborhood association constituencies
The committee provides technical assistance to the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, acts as a review committee for SRTS grants, serves as a communication channel between the SRTS Program and stakeholders and as an advocate for SRTS. Members serve on a volunteer basis. The committee meets at most four times a year, generally in Salem, with the option for members to join the meeting by teleconference or videoconference. The state reimburses members for travel expenses to attend committee meetings.
The ODOT Safe Routes to School Program is a statewide program assisting Oregon communities in identifying and reducing barriers and hazards to children, K-12, when walking or bicycling to or from school. The program may provide federal aid funding to schools K-8 for education and outreach, evaluation, and engineering and enforcement within two miles of the school, based on a statewide competitive application process.
The Safe Routes to School Program welcomes stakeholder participation from across the state -- from urban, suburban and rural communities. The application is posted on the website. (See http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/TS/saferoutes.shtml). Please submit completed application by mail, postmarked no later than April 16, 2012.
Last week a reader email spurred me to check up on a project I first wrote about in December 2007.
Reader Kevin B wrote:
"I live in the Kerns neighborhood and my kids go to Buckman Elementary. During our bike/scooter ride each morning to school I see numerous kids/families trying to cross the intersection of E Burnside and 16th. They have to play chicken to get across the road. I am confused as to why there is no pedestrian/cycling light at this intersection similar to what exists further out on E Burnside and 41st. It is listed as a Bike route street on all the cycling maps."
Great news from our friends at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership... The non-profit announced this morning that their main source of funding, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has renewed their commitment to Safe Routes. Read the full press release below
ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION RENEWS FUNDING FOR
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP
Project Will Help Create Thousands of Miles of Sidewalks and Bike Paths
Boulder, CO (January 5, 2012)– The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has provided a three-year renewal grant of $2,999,725 to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a diverse, nationwide coalition of more than 550 organizations. The grant will support the National Partnership’s efforts to advance Safe Routes to School, a federal program that creates safe, convenient and fun opportunities for U.S. children to walk and bicycle to and from school.
“This program will help a generation of children to become more active and healthy through the construction of lasting street-scale improvements that will result in more walking and bicycling,” said Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “We are grateful for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s generous support, and look forward to working with many partners to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the next three years.”
The grant will build on policy wins from recent years, and advance built environment improvements in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This project will result in thousands of more miles of sidewalks and bike paths, traffic-calming projects and safer street crossings, and will enable many more students to benefit from Safe Routes to School. The project will focus on supporting communities with high rates of childhood obesity.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is leading national efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. This grant contributes toward that goal, and has four main elements:
1) Helping all states to increase the award and obligation of federal Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funds, resulting in the construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities nationwide, particularly in lower-income communities;
2) Developing a national learning network to share best practices among advocates for advancing street-scale improvements, such as sidewalks and pathways and joint-use agreements that develop opportunities for cities and schools to collaborate on creating safe places for kids to play and engage in healthy physical activity;
3) Advancing state-level policy reform in seven states (Calif., Fla., Miss., N.C., N.J., Ohio, and Tenn.) which will result in the award and obligation of federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements and joint-use agreements. The seven states were selected based on need and their capacity to succeed with the program goals; and
4) Publication of two policy reports highlighting the importance of the built environment in relation to improving health.
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership was founded in 2005 and is leading a national movement designed to make it safe, fun and convenient to walk and bicycle to and from school and in daily life. In 1969, approximately half of all school-age children walked or bicycled to school. Today, only about 13 percent of children in America walk or bicycle to school. Since 2005, Congress has dedicated funding for state departments of transportation to provide grants to schools and communities to build pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and run educational programs to support more walking and bicycling. A growing body of evidence confirms that community and street-scale improvements to the built environment play an important role in increasing physical activity for children and adults...
(Photo: Gabe Graff/City of Portland)
Biking continues to improve for residents of North Portland. The City just unwrapped a small but important improvement that will improve bike safety during pick-up and drop-off on the main road outside Cesar Chavez School on N. Willis Blvd. (more...)
(Photo © J. Maus)
The City of Portland's excellent monthly "Bicycle Brown Bag" discussion series continues tomorrow with a presentation titled 'Bike Train Lessons'.
Kiel Johnson, who has spearheaded a flourishing local bike train movement will give the talk. Johnson will talk about, "his successes and struggles in building a bike train movement and how his experiences can be applied to other efforts to promote active transportation."
Kiel is the consummate citizen activist who took a passion for making a difference and turned it into a sustainable program that has gotten widespread notoriety not just for himself, but for bike trains in general. And the amazing thing is that he did it almost completely DIY-style, with very little funding or resources.