Safe Routes to School National Conference coming to Portland

Posted by on June 1st, 2009 at 7:25 am

We’ll have a lot more coverage of this exciting upcoming event in the weeks to come. For now, here’s the official press release from conference host, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA):

The 2nd Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held in Portland on August 19th-21st, bringing stakeholders from across North America together to champion walking and biking to school safely. Themed “Two Steps Ahead,” the conference will highlight how Safe Routes to School programs across the country are changing the habits of an entire generation of children and keeping thousands of families ahead of health, traffic safety, and environmental concerns.

A variety of scholarships are available for Oregon residents to participate in this forum to share unique knowledge, highlight best practices, form potential partnerships, and keep Oregon on track to becoming the premiere walking and bicycling state in the country. The Oregon Department of Transportation has dedicated money to sending Oregonians to the conference, and Metro has committed funds to bring residents of the metropolitan area. Cycle Oregon, understanding the uniqueness that rural bike and walk infrastructure brings to the discussion, is devoting resources to bring rural Oregonians to the conference.

Hosted in Portland, the conference will showcase recent strides made in the local bicycle and pedestrian transportation system and the city’s robust Safe Routes to School program. Attendees will have a variety of opportunities to enjoy the city by attending mobile workshops, dances, and bike events to experience what is uniquely Portland.

Highlighted themes of the conference relate to: transportation infrastructure and safety, health and evaluation, empowering youth and families, education and encouragement, and growing the SRTS movement. Keynote speakers for the conference include Larry Selzer, CEO of The Conservation Fund, speaking about the importance of children connecting with nature and how Safe Routes to School can enable them to do so. Also, Dr. Howard Frumpkin from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Richard Jackson from UCLA will speak on the public health aspects of the built environment, specifically as it pertains to children. The conference program and a full list of speakers is available online.

The Conference will offer standard 90-minute workshops, plenary speakers, walking, streetcar, and bicycle tours, 180-minute interactive training opportunities that allow for
more in-depth discussion, hands-on events, discussion panels, and fun evening events including a dance party. There is also a pre-conference health session presented by Kaiser Permanente on August 18th.

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