Health and equity in transportation webinar series

The American Public Health Association just announced a 2012 webinar series on health and equity in transportation.  There are three webinars that will focus on:

  • Increased use of public transportation;
  • Reduced injuries, particularly for children and young drivers;
  • Reduced inequities from increased access to goods and services; and
  • Other topics within transportation, such as updates on the federal surface transportation authorization.

As advocates, it is important that we understand the multifaceted issues involved in transportation issues. Understanding the issues also leads to new partners we may not have previously included. The first webinar is on public transit. Every public transit trip begins and ends with a walk or bicycle ride. Injury prevention is the focus of the second webinar. It will discuss how childcare providers and pediatricians can raise the profile of transportation as a public health issue. Finally, the role of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as tool to address health inequities in transportation corridors will be discussed.

For more information, see the American Public Health Association website.

Complete Streets for the Region!

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership blog is covering the big Greater Washington news of a regional Complete Streets policy! National Capital Transportation Planning Board (TPB)  adopted a Complete Streets policy at their meeting this week! The policy specifically endorses Complete Streets and encourages member jurisdictions to adopt their own policies.

As I have said before, we live in the whole region. A dividing line between jurisdiction is arbitrary to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists. We want safe streets everywhere!

The next step-take the TPB’s policy seriously and adopt or strengthen Complete Streets policies at the local level!

Create Change

Watching the newly released Weight of the Nation films brings tears to my eyes. While I already love what I do, the films are another call to action for me personally. The fact that we currently live in an environment that traps people from safely traveling to destinations, does not allow kids to safely walk or bicycle to school,  leaves children without parks, makes grocery stores inaccessible to families and healthy food hard to find is inexcusable.

This is why I believe in the policy, systems and environmental approach. Change on the case by case or project basis is good. Change at the level that affects every decision is even better. When we change the way we do business, we get better products. We just don’t get better products when someone pays attention, we get better products all the time. The “new normal” is healthier and safe. Prince George’s and Fairfax Counties are already taking action.

Watch the series, get fired up and ask yourself, what you can do to create change. If you don’t have any ideas, let’s talk. Or bring your idea to the Greater Washington network. We are ready to be part of the change, just give us the opportunity.

Weight of the Nation is an HBO documentary series on the obesity epidemic. It was screen a few weeks ago at the National Academy of Sciences and this week at Prince George’s Community College. The entire series and bonus features are free online. I blogged about the series in detail on Greater Greater Washington.

Greater Washington Safe Routes to School featured on WAMU

Greater Washington region Safe Routes to School stories were featured on  WAMU Metro Connections today.

Bike to School Day at Lincoln Park, Washington D.C.

The story starts in Washington D.C. with parent advocate Robin Schepper from Murch Elementary. We then hear from Vienna, VA resident Jeff Anderson of Wolfie’s Bike Train. Jeff talks about how his school went from not having bike racks to four bike racks.  Jeff’s daughter Laurel also talks about all the benefits of bicycling to school such as saving energy and it is fun of course!

John Schlichting who lives in Kentlands, Maryland notes the features such as sidewalks and narrow roads that make walking to school safe in his community. Walking student, Elaina Dietz explains how she safely crosses in the crosswalks but realized if she lived somewhere else, she may not feel safe.

Of course we are all part of the solution. As I say at the end of the segment, parents, advocates, transportation, planning and health professionals and schools all have a role to play. Make sure you check our website regularly, sign up for emails, join us on Facebook or follow the network on Twitter (@SafeRoutesDC). Together we can make is safe for all kids to walk or bicycle to school!

Greater Washington Bike to School Day Round-up

Bike to School Day was a great success in the Greater Washington region with at least 36 schools in the region participating. Virginia pulled in the most schools registered on the National Center for Safe Routes to School website with 14 schools in Fairfax County, two in Arlington County and one in Loudon County. The District of Columbia had 16 schools registered and Maryland registered three schools, two in Montgomery County and one in Prince George’s County.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership Director Deb Hubsmith was at Lincoln Park to send off the bike trains to at least six Capitol Hill schools.

Safe Routes to School National Partnership Director Deb Hubsmith cheers on the bike trains!

Over 200 kids left from Lincoln Park and more kids bicycled directly to school. The Golden Bicycle will be awarded to the DC school with the most kids bicycling on Bike to School Day. I can’t wait to hear the results!

Our region hit the national blog scene with pictures from Takoma Park and the District of Columbia on U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s Fast Lane blog. One very happy Takoma Park student was also profiled on the League of American Bicyclist blog.  The Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling have the numbers from Fairfax County schools as well as a video of Wolfie’s Bike Train on their blog. WAMU covered Takoma Park Children’s School.

Bike Arlington, the DC Safe Routes to School and Greater Washington Region Safe Routes to School Facebook pages all have pictures up from their events.

Thanks to all the Safe Routes to School Coordinators, parents and kids who made Bike to School Day a success!

Safe Routes to School National Partnership receives the “Game Changer” award

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has received the Game Changer Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention! We are honored and will continue to work for healthy kids that are safe walking and bicycling. Our Director Deb Hubsmith blogs about her thoughts on receiving the award.