In June, the National Center for Safe Routes to School hosted the 2010 Safe Routes to School State Coordinators National Meeting. Forty-seven State Coordinators and special guests met in Chicago to share three days of discussion, networking and best practices. Joe Toole, Associate Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Safety, which oversees the federal SRTS program, joined us for a day. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Congressman James Oberstar both provided video messages of support to the State Coordinators and commended them on how far the program has advanced since the first meeting five years ago. Please take a few minutes to view these videos if you can — the message extends to each and every local SRTS effort. Thanks for your help in making the first five years of the federal SRTS program a success.
This meeting was an opportunity to appreciate the many, valuable players of the Safe Routes to School program — and that may have been my biggest takeaway. The State Coordinators represent such an experienced, seasoned group of transportation professionals and they are fueled by amazing programs occurring at local levels. The experiences we heard about and the sheer drive of parent volunteers, school administrators and other local SRTS champions across the country was inspiring.
Now we are beginning to plan the 2011 SRTS National Conference, which will be co-hosted by the National Center and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. We have received excellent proposals from potential host agencies and are already looking forward to an event where coordinators, practitioners, advocates and supporters alike can share ideas and the excitement of SRTS. When we have the opportunity to meet together, we can achieve great things!