safe routes to school
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.
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.
— 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.
With $8 million up for grabs, Portland kicks off series of Safe Routes to School open houses tonight
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…]
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…]
(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…]
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.
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.