Getting There Together: A Message from the Director on Optimism

Let me share a story with you.  On my way to the office a few days ago I had an experience that reinforced my confidence in the future of Safe Routes and made me realize how far we’ve come.

Driving through a residential neighborhood, I came upon a swarm of elementary school children biking to school.  The scene at first seemed  chaotic, but amid the commotion, safety was everywhere—a pace car leading the group, parents interspersed with the 60 or so children, and enough visible mass to slow any approaching vehicle on this low-speed street.

Joke contest hatches award winning Safe Routes to School program

[Editor’s note: This article is longer than the normal Safe Routes Matters article, but with good reason: it is chock-full of great ideas for Safe Routes to School programs.  We have included links to key ideas to make navigating easier.]
Key Ideas
Evaluation and planning  ||  Improving infrastructure
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Mini Grant helps El Paso school on military base grow bike licensing program

Milam Elementary in El Paso, Texas, has a unique method for keeping students safe and cycling.  For the past six years, Milam (pronounced MY-lum) has given a bike license to each student in grades 3, 4 and 5 who passes a written and skills test after a two-week bicycle safety course.  The license allows those students to ride their bikes to school on their own (that year OR for the duration of their time at the school).

Observation of a School: Understanding Walking and Biking Safety Issues

The best way to understand walking and bicycling safety issues at a particular school is by observing students arriving or departing during a normal school day. This includes observing children as they walk or bike the routes to school, how they cross streets, the interactions they have with cars and buses on the school campus, and how they make their way to the school door. The goal is to identify two main things:

Go By Bike: A Guide to Bicycling in Massachusetts

Go By Bike: A Guide to Bicycling in Massachusetts is a one page document filled with valuable information on how to ride safely and legally in traffic. The document is available in the following languages: English, French, Haitian Creole,Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese.

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Go By Bike: A Parent's Guide to Bike Safety

Go By Bike: What every parent needs to know is a professionally designed two-page publication that covers child bicycle safety that parents can teach their children. for parents and addresses myths associated with children bicycling. The document is available in the following languages: English, French, Haitian Creole,Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese

Authoring Organization: 

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December Webinar: Fresh Ideas from the 2012 Oberstar SRTS Award Program

As the importance of drawing upon community assets to sustain SRTS programs continues to grow, thinking beyond the "usual suspects" as partners is more important than ever.  In this sixty minute program, we will highlight partner ideas from four outstanding programs that provide wonderful examples of building strong ties with other community organizations.

Getting There Together: A Message from the Director

So much has happened since our last Safe Routes Matters.  So many important decisions, events and announcements that will help to move forward the idea behind Safe Routes to School.  Starting with International Walk to School Day, the lucky seventh since the National Center was formed.  Once again the country set a new record for the number of registered events—4,250 to date, with one week of reporting to go.  All of you reading this had something to do with making that happen, so a big congratulations to you.

Q&A: Delivering a Gorilla-Sized Walk to School Day

For most readers of this e-newsletter, Walk to School Day will be a happy memory at this point.  Not so for Don Cross.  He’ll have some warm and fuzzies for sure, but with more still to come for another week or so.

Safe Routes to School as a Catalyst for Community Change in Montpelier, Vermont

Six years ago, Community Connections, a local nonprofit that runs afterschool programs in Montpelier, Vt., public schools, identified a need to get students more physically active during the school day.  The organization saw the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program as the perfect way to get students excited about physical activity.

After receiving a non-infrastructure SRTS grant from the state, Community Connections spent the next two years running programs that concentrated on the five E’s: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation and Engineering.