Safe Routes to School Campaign
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When it is safe, convenient, and fun to walk to neighborhood schools, our children are healthier, our streets are safer for everyone, and our communities thrive. Every kid in Oregon deserves a chance at a healthy future. The BTA is partnering with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, American Heart Association, and others to secure dedicated funding that will reach every kid in the Portland metro-area with Safe Routes to School.
A Dangerous Trend for Oregon’s Kids
Our kids are getting less exercise than any previous generation. One in three kids in the U.S. is overweight or obese, conditions that lead to heart disease, diabetes, hypertension—and eventually early death. Something as simple as walking to school every day isn’t an option for many families in the Portland metro-area. Too many communities lack safe sidewalks, bikeways, and crosswalks. Kids who most need opportunities for physical activity often don’t have safe routes for walking or biking to school which could give them 66% percent of their recommended daily exercise.
Healthier Kids, Safer Communities
Kids who can safely walk and bike to their neighborhood school get regular physical activity and perform better in school. To ensure that’s an option for all families, Safe Routes to School programs:
- Make streets and crossings within the mile-radius of schools safer.
- Empower communities to take charge of their own health and safety with bike and pedestrian safety education.
- Create communities of families walking and biking together through fun, school-based events.
Safe Routes to Schools Works
Some metro-area schools have received funding since 2006 for a robust Safe Routes to School program. Schools with well-supported programs have seen walking and biking to school quadruple in one year. We can and should do more to ensure every kid has a chance at a healthy future. More than 60,000 kids in the Portland metro-area could be walking and biking to school after just one year of a robust regional Safe Routes to School program.
Every School District in the Metro Region
When it is safe, convenient, and fun to walk to neighborhood schools, our children are healthier, our streets are safer for everyone, and our communities thrive. Safe Routes to School programs could bring the following to every community in the metro-area:
- Healthier kids ready to learn
- Safer neighborhood streets for all residents
- Kids equipped with crucial bike and pedestrian safety education
- Thriving neighborhoods that foster community
- Opportunities for physical activity for kids who need it most
STATUS The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and over 89 partners in the Metro Area joined the For Every Kid Coalition to urge Metro Council to dedicate Regional Flexible Funds to Safe Routes to School. We worked with city, county, and Metro staff, local elected officials, businesses, and individuals to show how Safe Routes to School can increase walking and biking to school by 40% and be a regional solution to problems around rising health issues, safety concerns on local streets, and inequitable health and safety investments in communities of concern.. We engaged and activated For Every Kid Coalition partners and thousands of individuals in writing postcards,sending emails, making phone calls, attending rallies, testifying at public meetings, and much more. Ultimately we were able to win $3.5M for Safe Routes to School and over $25M for active transportation projects. Because of this win, hundreds of kids, families, and elders in the Metro-area will be able to safely walk, bike, and access transit in their neighborhoods!