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Care about Safe Routes to School? Tell Congress about it

Posted by on September 4th, 2009 at 8:17 am

Buckman Elem. bike safety class

We need more like him.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Yesterday the Safe Routes to School National Partnership launched their “Dear Congress: Why Safe Routes to School is Important” campaign. The intention of this grassroots lobbying effort is to send a clear message to members of Congress that their constituents care deeply about getting more kids to walk and bike to school.

The National Partnership hopes to generate thousands of letters by September 24th that they will then bundle up and share with members of the House and Senate.

In a statement announcing the new campaign, Partnership staffers acknowledged that the timing of a new federal transportation bill is uncertain, but added that, “It is absolutely the time to make sure that we have all the ammunition necessary to continue the fight to strengthen and expand the federal Safe Routes to School program in the next bill… we can do this through your stories.”

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If you want to see more funding for Safe Routes to School in the upcoming federal transportation bill, write a letter and encourage all your friends to do the same. Send your letters to Margo Pedroso with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership by September 24, 2009. You can scan and email electronic versions to margo[at]saferoutespartnership[dot]org. You can also mail letters to: Margo Pedroso, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, P.O. Box 442328, Fort Washington, MD 20749.

More information on the “Dear Congress” campaign at SafeRoutesPartnership.org.

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Elly BlueBorgbikeMichelle (BTA)Atbmanq`Tzal Recent comment authors
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Vance Longwell
Guest

“Write a letter, and ask everyone you can think of to write their own “Dear Congress” letter on SRTS. These should include children (we’d love letters in crayon with drawings!);”

So when grown adults offer too much resistance, exploit the kids? It’s never too soon to strip your kids of the ability to make decisions on their own. Quick, before they figure out who Rush Limbaugh is!!

Good gravy.

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

Vance
Are you supporting the notion that parents don’t know better than their children? Please understand that sarcasm and irony do not communicate well through this media.

Rush Limbagh? I doubt that overweight, drug addicted blow hard wants children to be able to bicycle to school, but introducing him into the discussion is a red herring.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I can’t tell who Vance is quoting in post #1. Those four lines do not appear in the above article. Perhaps there was a more vitrolic comment before Vance that he commented to before it was mysteriously removed?

Vance Longwell
Guest

Absolutely correct Bob_M. I’m old too. It was simply unthinkable to teach morality, and other subjective, often contentious, subjects to children in my day.

Teaching safety is one thing. Indoctrinating helpless children into the Church of Green is tantamount to an act of war.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Oh no q’Tzal. I stepped in that all on my own! I am being about maybe half to two-thirds serious, and my tongue is meandering toward a cheek, but I said it. I own it.

I just think kids are as safe as they’re gonna be going to school. As such, that leaves things like, Safe Routes, looking awful suspect to me. Takes about five minutes to teach a kid how to use a helmet, and look out for traffic. A whole program is, well, suspect.

Vance Longwell
Guest

Oh, and that quote is the official stuff from one of the links in the piece. See, I do actually read this stuff prior to ignoring it, and continuing dig…

The send-our-congress-people-drawings-in-crayon thing pushed a button with me. Seems like exploitation.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Like Bill Cosby said “they need to bring back see-saws”
There is a lot children learn about cooperating, sharing and safety from falling off of see-saws.
Too many things are rounded and cushioned. You can’t really learn caution until you grab a red rod stove burner.

Vance Longwell
Guest

My point exactly q’Tzal. Only, questioning myself here not you, I wonder how practical my thinking is in today’s world? But I sure wish kids were safe ’cause they see the sense in it, and aren’t just following a rule.

They call marijuana a gateway drug for many reasons which don’t believe. But there is a corollary: When you tell people that something is dangerous, and they turn around and experience it, and aren’t endangered, what do you suppose their reaction to warnings of danger in the future might be? This can be a gateway alright, more like a black-hole.

If you instill too deep a sense of danger in these kids, what happens when they are never endangered? If they were developing judgment, instead of just following rules, I’d be more inclined to feel this program is less of a disservice to these kids.

Totally an opinion of course. And completely directed at people who indoctrinate their children into religions, and politics, and stuff. Poor form that. Let ’em make up their own minds.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

I love the way these comments go off topic:)

Atbman
Guest
Atbman

Surely, Safe Routes to School is only one part of the equation. Am curious, do US Education boards take responsibility for on-road safety training? For an alternative view, try http://www.bikeability.org.uk/

This was the result of a thorough review and reconsideration of existing local schemes. A route can be as safe as you can make it, but, without child riders being properly trained, they may still behave in ways which put them in potentially dangerous positions vis-a-vis other traffic.

Michelle (BTA)
Guest
Michelle (BTA)

On a different topic, this is a great moment to write Congress about Safe Routes to School and youth bike education generally.

We are in a moment in history in which traditional public health advocates are seeing kids’ active transportation as essential to healthy communities.

The next transportation bill (which gets rewritten every six years) is an opportunity to make transportation investments that improve, rather than degrade, physical health and community health.

Tell your Congress people you get this connection! And ask for their support.

Borgbike
Guest

If there is some economic stimulus money to throw around, spending some on improving bike transportation to schools might be well spent.

1. It would get money into lots of small projects, employing more people locally.

2. As a parent, I am appalled by the lameness of how many of us get our kids to school in the morning. When we bike our daughter to school in the morning we pass a number parents loading kids into cars for a three block drive. This ends up in a smelly (exhaust from cars not being fully warmed up) traffic jam in front of the school. Why do so many people insist on dropping their kids off immediately at the front door of the school? It slows everybody down and teaches unhealthy habits.

Maybe if more kids were biking to school other kids and parents would want to get with the program?

3. Before the King Farmers’ Market was established, King Elementary School had two parking staples. That was the sum total of the intentional (not counting sign poles) bike parking for this school! No joke.

My daughter’s school, Sabin, has two bike racks. They are almost always packed to capacity now.

So, yes (referencing the discussion above) maybe we have gone a little over board about safety these days, but even some not-safety-fixated bike transportation investment is called for. Even a very modest investment (like a few more bike racks) would do wonders.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
Member

Thanks for keeping this conversation on-topic, folks.