Safe Routes to School Nation Partnership launched a new website Wednesday (www.saferoutespartnership.org) as a resource for schools, parents, local and state governments and bicycle advocacy groups to, hopefully, encourage more kids to walk or bike to school. The site is is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bikes Belong Coalition.
From their press release:
The $612 million federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2005, provides funding to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to support education and enforcement programs and to help communities improve infrastructure such as building sidewalks and bike paths.
The SRTS program is an important initiative, as the percentage of U.S. students who walk and/or bicycle to school declined from approximately 50 percent in 1969 to only 15 percent today. At the same time, obesity rates have increased dramatically among children of all ages. Today, more than 33 percent of children and adolescents-approximately 25 million kids-are overweight or obese. In addition, the SRTS program helps relieve traffic congestion caused by parents driving their children, which is substantial in many U.S. communities.
“We created this Web site to help people take action now to bring SRTS programs to their communities,” said SRTS National Partnership Director Deb Hubsmith. “The potential benefits of SRTS programs include healthier children, reduced congestion around schools, less pollution, and safer streets.”
Other features of the new site include an interactive U.S. map that allows users to access pages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, a robust search function, updated national SRTS news, in-depth policy pages, event listings, resources and a submit-a-story form. See www.saferoutespartnership.org for more details.
I’ve spent some time surfing the site and must say it is, in fact, a nice resource. I’ve finally gotten the attention of the principal at my youngest child’s school and we’re going to see what we can do to get some more of our kids riding. I was approached by another parent asking if their son could ride with us in the morning; I said I’d be happy to have him join us but it still hasn’t happened. This has got me thinking, if I were to try to organize a Bike Train for the kids within easy riding distance — what kind of liabilities am I looking at? I need to surf the site some more…