safe routes to school

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

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. [Read more…]

PSU transportation class projects: Safer routes to Bridger School by Amy Wren

by on November 30th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

SE 80th looking towards Mill, right outside an elementary school.(Photos: Amy Wren)

SE 80th looking towards Mill, right outside an elementary school.
(Photos: Amy Wren)

(Publisher’s note: This week we’re excited to highlight a few of the projects created by students in Portland State University’s Traffic and Transportation course. As we reported in a profile earlier this year, the class has had a vast impact on Portland in numerous ways by churning out over 1,200 smart and inspired graduates since 1991. We worked with class assistant Rebecca Hamilton (a graduate herself who now works at Metro) to share three of the projects that will be presented by students in class later this week. Yesterday we shared Charles Tso’s work on parking benefit districts.)

Safer routes to Bridger Elementary School – Amy Wren

Tucked between Southeast 82nd Avenue and Mt. Tabor Park, Bridger Elementary School is surrounded by streets that lack sidewalks and that are littered with big potholes and gravel. Add in winter weather and vehicle traffic and you’ve got a recipe for danger and stress. For her project, Amy Wren (who took the PSU class after reading about it on BikePortland!) asked a simple question: Would you want your kids to bike or walk on those streets?

What’s your big idea?[Read more…]

Biking and Safe Routes to School programs come up big in $2.5 million worth of regional grants

by on November 30th, 2016 at 10:15 am

Bike to School Day in NoPo-17

About a quarter of the grants went to Safe Routes to School programs.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s some good news: Metro just announced grants to 17 agencies and organizations throughout the region that will make it easier to get around without driving alone. The grants are worth a total of $2.5 million — money that comes from the federal government and is doled out by Metro via their Regional Travel Options (RTO) program.

Metro spokesman Craig Beebe said, “This cycle’s awardees continue the program’s trend of focusing on youth and underserved communities.”

On that note, a $178,000 grant to the Community Cycling Center will allow the nonprofit to implement a “community centered” Safe Routes to School program at Title I schools (where students come from low-income families). And the Bicycle Transportation Alliance won $203,000 for an “Access to Bicycling initiative” that will include a continuation of their Women Bike program and hands-on bike repair and riding clinics at workplaces and in communities around the region. In Washington County, the Westside Transportation Alliance will use its $196,000 grant to encourage biking, walking and transit use in areas with a high percentage of low-wage and shift workers.
[Read more…]

Building bike parking shelters at Ockley Green Middle School

by on June 8th, 2016 at 8:54 am

Bike parking shelter at Ockley Green Middle School-6.jpg

Parent volunteers helped erect two bike parking
shelters at a north Portland school on Sunday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Did you know that you can get a few volunteers together and build a covered bike parking shelter at any Portland Public School?

We wrote about the City of Portland’s school bike shelter program back in 2012. Since then the shelters have popped up at schools all over the city. On Sunday I got the chance to help build one myself at (the newly designated) Ockley Green Middle School in north Portland. It was a fantastic way to create better bike parking at my kids’ school and spend some time with other parents.

In some ways, bike parking shelters do for schools what intersection repair projects do for neighborhoods: The thing you make together is the icing on the community-building cake.
[Read more…]

Highway amendment fails, Metro committee adopts spending plan

by on May 19th, 2016 at 6:02 pm

JPACT meeting.jpg

Yellow signs urging investment in safe routes near schools loomed over local elected and agency leaders as they considered how to allocate $130 million in regional flexible funds this morning at Metro headquarters.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A nearly two-year quest to raise funds for Safe Routes to Schools across the Portland region came to an end this morning. At the monthly meeting of Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, elected and agency leaders voted to support a policy direction that will inform how $130 million in federal “flexible” transportation dollars are spent.
[Read more…]

After delay, Metro again faces vote that pits Safe Routes money against highways

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 13th, 2016 at 10:33 am

Trillium Charter School bike train-24-19

A bike train at Trillium Charter Schoool
in north Portland.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The regional Metro committee that controls $130 million in federal funds continues to consider an increase in money for road widening rather than for safety improvements to streets near schools.

JPACT, the committee of 17 regional officials, was due to vote last month but decided to postpone its vote until next Thursday.

At play are $17.4 million in new money created by last year’s federal transportation bill. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other nonprofits in the For Every Kid Coalition have led a two-year campaign to secure much of that money for Safe Routes to School infrastructure across the region, which improves crosswalks, sidewalks and bikeways near schools. Their proposal would prioritize “Title 1” schools, those with higher rates of child poverty.

[Read more…]

Metro proposal rejects Safe Routes to School, spends more on freight routes

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 31st, 2016 at 10:53 am

A Safe Routes to School event in 2010. The Metro regional government is proposing to start supporting the program in suburban schools, but not to increase funding for accompanying street improvements near those schools.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A two-year campaign for regional funding of better biking and walking near schools, backed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and other advocacy groups, is in tatters.

[Read more…]

Counting votes at Metro: Will the region invest in walking and biking near schools?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 9th, 2016 at 10:53 am

Beach Elem. School encourages biking and walking-2

Biking to school in North Portland.
(All photos by Jonathan Maus unless otherwise noted)

With Portland’s locally funded Safe Routes to School program seeming to pay clear dividends — biking, walking and rolling to primary school became more popular than driving in 2010 and have kept rising — the case for bringing the idea to other cities may seem strong.

But the For Every Kid Coalition that’s been lobbying the regional government Metro to put $15 million into a regional Safe Routes to Schools program is competing for cash with two major forces: public transit and private freight. As Metro continues to accept public comments on the subject, we wanted to share what its councilors are thinking.

So we called all of them.

[Read more…]

For Every Kid coalition takes $15 million ‘safe routes’ funding push straight to regional leaders

by on February 18th, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Safe Routes rally at Metro meeting-4.jpg

Rally outside Metro headquarters this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

For Every Kid, a regional coalition that wants more money for biking and walking infrastructure around schools, made their strongest statement yet when they brought their message to Metro’s regional headquarters this morning.

At their monthly meeting in April, Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) will decide how to spend an estimated $125 million in regional flexible funds. This coalition — which includes the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the American Heart Association, the Community Alliance of Tenants, the Community Cycling Center, Oregon Walks, Upstream Public Health, and others — is asking JPACT to allocate $15 million of those funds to spread the Safe Routes to School program across the region.

The $15 million ask is a bold move because competition for these flexible funds (so named because they come from federal sources not tied the Highway Trust Fund and can therefore be spent on anything) is fierce. The For Every Kid coalition has support from several state legislators and hundreds of families and kids from all over the region. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has made expansion of the Safe Routes program one of their five main advocacy campaigns and they’ve tapped into partnerships at schools throughout Portland for support.
[Read more…]

Driving to school hits a new low in Portland after 15 years of ‘Safe Routes’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 18th, 2016 at 8:37 am

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 6.38.28 PM

(Graphs: Portland Bureau of Transportation)

Portland pupils keep riding cars to school less, and walking and biking more.

Survey data released by the city Wednesday show a continuing upward climb in active transportation to school. Among Portlanders in kindergarten through fifth grade, walking, biking and otherwise rolling to school became more common than traveling in the family vehicle sometime around 2010 and has more or less kept climbing since.

[Read more…]