In what they’re calling a “major milestone,” and for the first time since the program began in 2006, the City of Portland has identified and published a list of Safe Routes to School projects that are funded and queued up for construction. [Read more…]
A family makes their way to Beach School in north Portland on the Concord Neighborhood Greenway. (Photo: J. Maus)
One of the bright spots in the $5.3 billion transportation package passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017 was annual funding dedicated to Safe Routes to School.
House Bill 2017 (which the Oregon Department of Transportation now calls the Keep Oregon Moving program), included a $10 million annual investment in street safety projects within a one-mile radius of schools. That number bumps up to $15 million a year in 2023.
But when the ink on the bill dried, there remained a lot of things to figure out. Who would be eligible for the money? What would the grant process look like? Which type of roads and projects would compete best for the funds?
To answer these and other questions, ODOT convened a Safe Routes to School Rulemaking Advisory Committee. The bulk of that committee’s work is done and yesterday ODOT announced that the draft rule update for the new Safe Routes to School Fund is ready for public scrutiny. [Read more…]
Mom, bike commuter, advocate — it’s all in a day’s work for Kari Schlosshauer. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Even if you don’t know Kari (it rhymes with “safari”) Schlosshauer, chances are you’re familiar with her work.
As the Pacific Northwest Senior Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Schlosshauer has spent the last five years making our neighborhoods safer for walking and biking. Her position puts here at the center of discussions and deals about how and where our city, region, and state spend money for school-related transportation projects.
Schlosshauer lives in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood near Powell and 25th. Earlier this week I sat down with her around her kitchen table before riding downtown where she attended a meeting of the Vision Zero Task Force (she’s a member) at City Hall. [Read more…]
LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.
Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”
Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.
There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated. [Read more…]
Detail from PBOT materials to be used in new Safe Routes to School safety campaign.
Sometimes the streets that should be safe for the whole family are unfortunately the most stressful.
Neighborhood Greenways are one example. Because they lack stop signs and are often adjacent to gridlocked arterials, they are increasingly saturated with cut-through drivers. And consider the streets in front of schools. Because too many people use cars — often with complete lack of respect for other road users — streets near schools can be a chaotic, dangerous mess two times every day.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is well aware of this problem. The lack of safety during pick-up and drop-off makes the city’s goal of encouraging more people to bike and walk to school much harder. That’s why the city is launching a new safety campaign aimed at taming this daily street snarl.
The bill, sponsored by House Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) and Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie), would take $12 million from the state’s General Fund and deposit it into a Safe Routes to Schools Fund that would be administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation and mandate that ODOT spends at least $20 million of their State Highway Fund allotment on the safe routes infrastructure projects. It would also prioritize the funding toward low-income Title I schools and require infrastructure projects to be coupled with educational and outreach components. [Read more…]
The upcoming legislative proposal is likely to include dedicated funding for safe routes to school. (Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
This is the third and final post in a series about the 2017 legislative session published in partnership with The Street Trust. Read the other installments here and here.
— by LeeAnne Fergason, The Street Trust campaign director
The change I’d like to see in the world starts with a great compassion for kids and intersects with transportation choices, aimed at freedom and independence.
Ten years ago, I began working at the Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance), as a Safe Routes to School coordinator. I joined a dream team of organizers and partners, including: Stephanie Noll (The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director), Carl Larson (we miss you!), Scott Lieuallen (local bike hero), Steph Routh (then Executive Director of Oregon Walks, now Communications and Marketing Manager at the Community Cycling Center), Susan Peithman (then with ALTA Planning + Design, now Oregon Department of Transportation Active Transportation Policy Lead), and many others who are still working to make our streets safe for kids. All of us were pretty young back then and learned much of our transportation nerdiness and enthusiasm by being a part of a Safe Routes to School program. [Read more…]
Have traffic safety concerns in your neighborhood that prevent you and your kids from biking to school? Listen up…
Thanks to the voter-approved, 10-cent increase in the local gas tax, the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation expects to raise about $64 million over the next four years. The money will be spent on a wide range of projects between now and 2020. About $8 million of that total amount is set aside specifically for making it safer and easier for people to walk, bike, and roll to school. This is important because safety concerns are a major barrier to people when deciding how they’ll get their kids to school. The most recent City survey of people who live 1-2 miles away from their school found that 51 percent of respondents were concerned about traffic safety — more than any other limiting factor in their travel choice.
Now PBOT wants to hear your feedback to make sure this $8 million helps ameliorate those concerns.[Read more…]