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Posts tagged "Safe Routes to School"

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In Portland, Every Day Is Walk and Bike to School Day

In many areas of the country the statistics are bleak -- only a small fraction of children bike or walk to school. But Portland, Oregon has bucked the trend: The number of kids using their feet to get to school is up 25 percent since 2006!

Portland makes it happen through a unique blend of infrastructure, planning, and outreach. They have a growing network of low-traffic neighborhood greenways. By 2015, 80 percent of all Portland residents will be within a half mile of one. Communities also frequently schedule "bike trains" and "walking school buses" to encourage kids and their families to bike or walk to school. One of the more incredible parts of these programs: Fifth grade student volunteers trained by the Portland police help younger students cross the street to get to school in the morning. That's right, NYC, no crossing guards on corner after corner.

Last month, Streetfilms got to bike to school along with the family of new Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat. We also got to walk with Kristen and Dan Kaufman (of PDXK-TV) and their kids. Although the United States has a long way to go to make walking and biking to school the norm again, get motivated -- because if Portland can do it, your city can too.

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From Minnesota to Mississippi, America Tells Congress to Preserve Bike-Ped Funding

For more than 20 years, federal funding for bike and pedestrian safety has enabled American cities and towns to invest in transportation projects that state DOTs would otherwise have overlooked. Thanks to these programs, communities have helped main streets thrive, provided kids with safer routes to school, and made biking an attractive transportation option.

The most recent transportation bill, passed in 2005 by a Republican Congress and Republican president, continued to invest in safer biking and walking. As negotiations over a new bill grind on, however, these programs are in jeopardy. The Senate has passed a bill that by and large preserves the status quo, but the House of Representatives has tried to eliminate bike and pedestrian programs.

Last week more than 800 people from all over the country came to Washington for the National Bike Summit. On the Hill, they urged the House to follow the lead of Wisconsin Republican Tom Petri, who introduced an amendment to restore dedicated funding for bike and pedestrian programs. We caught up with Petri and Bike Summit participants to hear how bike/ped programs have made a difference in their hometowns. Here’s what they told us.

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Boulder Goes Bike Platinum

Add Boulder, Colorado to the League of American Bicyclists' cities to achieve Platinum Bike Status. This Fall, they were bestowed the nation's highest rank for U.S. cities and joined Portland, Oregon and Davis, California as the only three cities to have that honor.

I spent five days on a bike in Boulder in October and can testify it is close to bicycling nirvana. The resulting Streetfilm is only a taste of what is going on in the bike culture universe. You'll get to sample what its like to ride some of their amazing bike amenities including its wonderful greenway system with its emphasis on continuity and an uninterrupted commute.

Having produced Streetfilms on all three Platinum bike cities, one thing that is beginning to emerge as a sure tell tale sign you got a healthy biking city: the numbers of youngsters riding bicycles. Boulder has numerous programs to encourage kids to walk and bike and we were lucky enough to include two of them here. Don't miss our Boulder Streetfilms series as well as our long-form pieces on Davis and Portland.

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Portland, Ore. – Safe Routes to School

The students and faculty of Sunnyside Environmental have an entire curriculum dedicated to bike safety that emphasizes using non-motorized when traveling to school. As early as second grade, the children ride their bicycles to school thanks to neighborhood traffic calming. Students also arrive by foot, skateboard, and scooter. In the morning, it's a fabulous melange of energy watching scores of parents drop off their children by bike!