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Do you know who your child’s Safe Routes to School coordinator is?

Posted by on January 6th, 2017 at 11:50 am

(Graphic: City of Portland)

If you are new to Portland or new to taking care of a little one, you might not realize how awesome our city’s Safe Routes to School program is. Working with partner nonprofits like The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), the Community Cycling Center, Oregon Walks, and others, the program serves 180 schools citywide. And it works.

The schools with the best programs are the ones where caregivers, parents, and teachers have built a relationship with staff from city’s transportation bureau. PBOT is the place that can set you up with maps and lots of other resources that will get more of your school biking, walking, and rolling to school. But many people aren’t sure where to begin and don’t know who to talk to to get things rolling.

PBOT has just made that much easier.


Their latest Safe Routes to School newsletter includes a map of all the school districts in Portland along with the names and contact information of the corresponding city staff member who can answer your questions and help you plug into the program. The current team of Janis McDonald, Lale Santelices (a fluent Spanish speaker), and Xao Xiong (fluent in Hmong), are ready to help get Safe Routes going at your kids’ school.

Now is a great time to get involved with Safe Routes. In the coming months and years the new gas tax will fund 11 infrastructure projects around schools valued at over $8 million.

Add your school’s coordinator to your contact list and don’t be a stranger!

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Eric LeifsdadrickpaikialaPhil RichmanJ_R Recent comment authors
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Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger

MAN!…Janis is all over the map!!!! 😉


Thanks bikeportland.
I think I have the lady’s name from Beaverton. However, the paper street of SW Vermont Street is still not maintained on the public right-of-way. It is one of the busiest public trails adjacent to a Beaverton school district school.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree

Does SRTS work? Looking at the graphs provided in the link, four times as many students are driven or drive to school as ride bikes.

Sure, when you add in those who walk the driving becomes less than a majority choice, but considering how many students live just a few blocks from their schools, where driving would be not only ridiculous (of course it’s almost always ridiculous in the sense of wasteful and unnecessary), but would take longer than walking, it looks like the penetration of SRTS is somewhat shallow.

I’m not dissing the people who are working hard to re-establish the former norm that children go to school without cars, but I am questioning whether we should be making grand claims of success.


curious to know how the Milwaukie effort is proceeding…

is there a follow-up for that one?

Dan A
Dan A

Funny story regarding the Beaverton School District:

A couple of years ago they determined that it was now safe for kids to walk across Bethany BLVD to get to Oak Hills Elementary, so they published a new walking route and cut buses for ~300 kids. This new route featured a path through the Oak Hills HOA’s private property, and a path on the school’s property that is owned by the district . As more kids started walking on this path, it was quickly realized that this path was substandard, with large portions of the path underwater, and the adjacent grass completely fouled up with deep mud.

We brought this issue to the HOA and to the school district, and asked for them to make repairs. We got a rough estimate for the path improvement at around $25K, if I remember right. That would have been suitable for the HOA, and the cost of the repairs would have been shared with the district. However, the district decided that instead of splitting the cost of the path, they would change the published walking route to go another way, and bring back buses for the kids who are the furthest away (~30 kids). So instead of improving walking conditions for 300 kids at a one-time cost of $15K, they decided to add a bus for 30 kids at a cost of….$35K a year forever? More?

We really do need Safe Routes To School. The school districts are doing nothing on their own to improve walking conditions or to encourage kids to walk to school without SRTS prodding.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad

Who do I call about the cars parked in the bike lane next to the school?


I was having a discussion recently with a neighbor who has a middle school student. He was complaining about the lack of good parking for picking up his child at school. His solution for getting good parking is to arrive at the school 45 minutes before dismissal. Otherwise, he claims, one has to park 6 blocks away.

PPS runs buses from our neighborhood to the school. The walk to the bus stop is 4 blocks and the bus ride is about 30 minutes.

I rather expect the child will not grow up to be a user of alternative modes of travel. Most likely she’ll get a car for her 16th birthday. Is there a problem here?

Phil Richman

ODOT (in spite of PBOT’s efforts) has no interest in SR2S in the Wilson Cluster as evidenced by their failure to provide safe walking/biking facilities along Barbur Blvd (aka, the backbone of SW Portland travel). The Jackson MS feeder schools in particular (Capitol Hill & Markham) suffer tremendously as a result. At Capitol Hill with help from Janice, Greg Raisman and our Principal Joy Williams we have taken some baby steps building covered bike shelters (that barely get used after 2 years), removing parking along Spring Garden for bus parking (took a year) to provide a safer environment for kids walking and to stop busses from winding through sidewalkless streets close to the school where kids can now more safely walk and bike.

Most importantly at CH we reinstated the Street Trust’s (formerly BTA) one-week bike safety education program (for 5th graders). There is a noticeable difference with my 5th grade son and his friends around the idea of riding their bikes (safely) around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm will come to a halt when they reach Jackson MS, where it is almost no safe route exists. PBOT could make some low-cost changes by adding bike lanes along SW 35th Ave, but evidently on-street parking for neighbors and parents takes priority in spite of the fact the school has a pretty big parking lot on the school grounds.

Along Vermont, next to Wilson HS, the wide bike lanes are nice but get parked in on school days and during the Hillsdale Farmers Market on Sundays. What can we do better to get the city to enforce parking rules for bike lanes? I see the same problem along SW Broadway southbound near PSU.