Getting There Together: A Message from the Director

Greetings,

A lot has happened this summer. The passage of a new transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), in July brings changes for Safe Routes to School.  At the federal and state levels, changes will occur in the way the program is administered and how states can choose to distribute funds. At the same time, communities and local SRTS programs will learn how to maximize the funding and support that are available amid these changes.

The idea behind Safe Routes to School is here to stay. That’s why we’ve chosen to focus this newsletter issue on sustainability. I also want to ask all of you to help us make this year’s Walk to School Day on October 3, 2012, a statement of our commitment by registering an event on our website.

Many SRTS programs are already participating in Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day, establishing regular programs like Walking and Rolling Wednesdays, and reaching out to community members and leaders to make their communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. These are all ingredients in making a Safe Routes to School program sustainable over the long term.

To that end, we’ve included a Q&A with Wendi Kallins, the program director of Marin County’s SRTS program. Wendi brings insights gained from years of experience leading one of the country’s biggest SRTS programs. For a more rural perspective, we’ve provided a case study of a program in Moscow, Idaho, which has successfully managed a SRTS program over several years.

These days, the word sustainability also means making decisions based on a respect for limited natural resources. So stay tuned – we’re about to release a new resource on environmental health that explores its connection to Safe Routes to School and presents methods used by SRTS programs to estimate the impact of their activities on local air quality and carbon dioxide emissions. This resource will be available at the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference next month, as well as on our website.

The sustainability of each Safe Routes to School program is what builds the sustainability of Safe Routes to School as a whole. We thank you for your continued involvement in making Safe Routes to School a lasting part of our nation’s culture.

Lauren Marchetti
Director
National Center for Safe Routes to School