New Study: Safe Routes to School Programs Can Boost Walking and Bicycling by 30%

crossing guard_www.pedbikeimages.org_Dan BurdenStreetsblog reports on a new study that found schools with Safe Routes to School programs could boost the number of children walking and bicycling to school by 31% over a five-year period. The researchers looked at 801 schools in the District of Columbia, Florida, Oregon and Texas, and studied the difference in the rates of walking and bicycling between schools with and without Safe Routes to School programs between 2007-2012. They found that infrastructure improvements led to an 18% increase in walking and bicycling at schools with SRTS programs, while education and encouragement programs had a cumulative effect and produced significant increases over time, above 25% over five years.

The results of the study are impressive and demonstrate the value of Safe Routes to School programs and infrastructure investments. The study is the largest to date and the first to compare data on schools with and without SRTS programs. Over time, as more data on SRTS programs becomes available, we hope to see more positive results like this.

The study is authored by Noreen C. MacDonald, Ruth L. Steiner, Chanam Lee, Tori Rhoulac Smith, Xuemei Zhu and Yizhao Yang, is published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. The full journal
article is available here.

Agenda & Speaker Bios Now Available for Next Tuesday’s Regional Meeting!

The Safe Routes to School Regional Meeting for the Greater Washington, D.C. region is just a few days away on Tuesday, October 28! The agenda & speaker bios are now available on our website.! Registration is still open here! We hope to see you there!

Fairfax County Bicycle Master Plan Approved by Planning Commission!

bmpcoverOn Wednesday, October 15, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan! This plan has been several years in the making, and a much-needed step in laying out a vision for safer bicycling in Fairfax County. The Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Network submitted comments on the plan, available here and in the link below. The next stop is the Board of Supervisors on October 28 at 3:30pm. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling has a good recap of the meeting on their blog. More information on the plan is available on the plan is on the County’s website here.

Fairfax Bike Plan_Comment Letter SRTSNP

New Interactive Map Shows Location of Bicycle Fatalities in DC Region Since 1987

Screenshot 2014-10-16 16.14.53Greater Greater Washington has published a new interactive map showing all the locations where bicycle fatalities have happened since 1987. Pins are labeled by color to differentiate between fatalities that happened in the roadway (yellow), intersection (red), crosswalk (black), shoulder (blue), sidewalk (orange), bicycle lane (green) or another location (white). The blog’s author, David Cranor, has also calculated the number of fatalities by location, with the most happening in intersections (37), followed closely by roadways (36) and crosswalks (20). By county, Prince George’s County has had the most bicycle fatalities, with 36 occurring over the 27-year period of study. This is followed by D.C (25) and Montgomery (21). Arlington County is the safest, with one bicycle fatality since 1987. The full rankings are available on the original blog post (cross posted on Wash Cycle blog.

The data comes from two sources: media reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Both have their limitations but are the most comprehensive sources of information on bicycle fatalities in the region and nationwide.

These statistics show we need to work to make our streets safer through greater investments in walking and bicycling, especially in places where there have been fatalities or major injuries in the past. Just yesterday, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved a number of transportation projects that will make our streets safer, but these are still a small percentage of the overall transportation budget. We are grateful to have many groups working on the ground in the DC region to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries, make the region a safer place to get around by walking and bicycling and advocate for more money to be spent on these improvements. Together, we can make the DC region a safer and healthier place to live and get around by walking and bicycling, and these statistics should be a call to action.

The interactive map can be viewed here.

The National Capital Region Updates the Long-Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Project List: Read Our Comments and Testimony!

On Wednesday, Screenshot 2014-10-15 13.23.22October 15, 2014, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) adopted the 2014 Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP) update and FY2015-2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Both documents outline the transportation investments the Greater Washington, DC region will make in the coming years. The CLRP provides a list of projects that the region will invest in over the next 26 years, and includes $243 billion in investments. The TIP is a shorter-term list of projects that will receive funding over the next six years, and includes $17.9 billion in investments.

The Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Network submitted comments to the TPB and provided testimony at the board meeting.

We are encouraged by the significant investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and Safe Routes to School programs that appear in the CLRP and TIP project lists. On the positive side:

  • There are over $15.7M in Safe Routes to School investments in the TIP project list, and many jurisdictions are represented.
  • Most if not all communities are investing in new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and incorporating it into larger road, highway and transit projects.

Yet overall, the amount this region is investing in walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School makes up less than 2% of the CLRP and TIP budgets.

  • The CLRP Performance Analysis predicts a 49 percent increase in trips by walking and bicycling by 2040, and an even greater increase of 69 percent within activity centers.
  • Walking and bicycling are also the only modes with a significant projected increase in overall mode share by 2040, jumping from 11% to 14% of all trips.
  • Therefore, making investments in these modes is critical to ensure that pedestrians and bicyclists have safe, convenient routes to reach their destinations all across the region.

Moreover, we are investing in many new transit projects across the region, and most of the trips to and from these stations will be by foot or bike, especially in Activity Centers where most household and job growth will occur in the next 26 years. Providing safe and convenient connections between these transit stations and housing, jobs, schools and other services will be critical to generating ridership.

Overall, we are encouraged by the number of pedestrian, bicycle and Safe Routes to School projects included in the CLRP and TIP, but feel they could receive greater prominence given current forecasts, policies and demographic trends. While we acknowledge that the project lists reflect the priorities of local jurisdictions, the TPB could do more to encourage its members to apply for walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School funding in future rounds.

Read our full comments and testimony below. More information on what’s included in the CLRP and TIP on the TPB website.

TPB_CLRP TIP 2014 comments_final

TPB_CLRP TIP 2014 testimony 10-15-14

Apply for the Community Leadership Institute!

Want to learn all about how transportation decisions are made in the Greater Washington DC metro region? Apply for the Community Leadership Institute! Safe Routes to School practitioners and advocates are encouraged to apply! Applications are due October 24 and are available online here. The CLI involves a three-meeting commitment on the following dates:

  • Thursday, Nov. 6, 6-9pm: College Park, MD
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12, 6-9pm: Alexandria, VA
  • Saturday, Nov. 15, 9am-12:30pm: Washington, DC

The Community Leadership Institute, or CLI, is an educational program that encourages successful community leaders to get involved in transportation-related decision-making at all levels. Over the course of three workshops, participants learn how, where, and when transportation decisions are made in the Washington region. The goal is to get people to “think regionally and act locally.”

The CLI includes information about the various planning processes at the state, regional, and local levels. CLI participants learn to be regional transportation leaders by connecting the interests of their local communities, constituencies, and elected officials with the planning issues facing the entire metropolitan Washington region. By reviewing case studies and participating in interactive group activities, participants also learn about the relationship between land use, jobs, housing, and transportation, and the implications of growth in our region.

The CLI is facilitated by former TPB Chair Kathy Porter, who currently serves on the WMATA Board of Directors and previously served as Mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland.

Apply for the Community Leasdership Institute.

Questions? Contact Bryan Hayes or call 202-962-3273.

Register Now for the Safe Routes to School Regional Meeting on October 28!

Join us on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 to talk about all things Safe Routes to School in the Greater Washington, DC region! Registration is open and available here.

We are very excited to have Mark Fenton as the keynote speaker. Mark is a national expert in public health, planning and transportation. He has lots of experience and expertise in Safe Routes to School as well as an unparalleled amount of energy! He will be first on agenda to energize us for the day!

Register Now!

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Time: 8:00am-12:00pm

Location: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, 777 North Capitol Street NE, Training Center, First Floor

Directions: On the MWCOG website here. Accessible via the Metro Red Line to Union Station and a short 3 block walk!

Agenda

8:00am:   Networking breakfast

8:30am:   Mark Fenton Keynote, “Taking Safe Routes to School to the Next Level”

10:00am: Safe Routes to School Best Practices from the Greater Washington DC Region: Presentations from Safe Routes to School coordinators and champions, including:

12:00pm:    Adjourn and join a friend for lunch at Union Station.

The event is free but registration is required. Register now!

Hosted by the Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Networkand The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee

Check the Regional Network website for the latest agenda and updates on the event.

Questions? Contact Bill Sadler, Greater Washington DC Regional Policy Manager, at bill@saferoutespartnership.org or 847-732-4007

Happy Walk to School Day!

Happy International Walk to School Day! According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, there are over 4,300 schools participating in events today, and over 150 in the Greater Washington, DC region! Events like this are a great opportunity to promote active, healthy living in our school-aged children, and demonstrate the possibilities of having Safe Routes to School. Congratulations to those of you who planned and/or participated in successful events this morning. Here are a few pictures from our morning in Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill.

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There was also local coverage of Walk to School Day in two local newspapers: the Washington Post and Fairfax Times. The Washington Post recently featured an article about the Walking School Bus and several Walk to School Day events planned by schools in the DC region this week. The article mentions Walking School Bus efforts at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Northwest Washington, Vienna Elementary School in Fairfax County and Lafayette Elementary in Washington’s Chevy Chase neighborhood. It also highlights Walk to School Day events planned for Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill, Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, DC and Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland. The article also features quotes from several Safe Routes to School coordinators in the region. The full article can be found here.

A recent article in the Fairfax Times features the Safe Routes to School program at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Police Department is providing extra training to school crossing guards to deal with congestion and make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school. The article quotes Sally Smallwood, the Safe Routes to School coordinator for Fairfax County Public Schools, and highlights Walk to School Day. The full article is available here.

Washington Post Features the Walking School Bus and Walk to School Day!

The Washington Post recently featured an article about the Walking School Bus and several Walk to School Day events planned by schools in the DC region this week. The article mentions Walking School Bus efforts at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School in Northwest Washington, Vienna Elementary School in Fairfax County and Lafayette Elementary in Washington’s Chevy Chase neighborhood. It also highlights Walk to School Day events planned for Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill, Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, DC and Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland. The article also features quotes from several Safe Routes to School coordinators in the region. The full article can be found here.

Fairfax Times Features Safe Routes to School!

A recent article in the Fairfax Times features the Safe Routes to School program at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Police Department is providing extra training to school crossing guards to deal with congestion and make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school. The article quotes Sally Smallwood, the Safe Routes to School coordinator for Fairfax County Public Schools, and highlights Walk to School Day. The full article is available here.

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