Safe Routes to School
December 16, 2002

This motion is being submitted to the SWNI Transportation Committee this month in the interest of time since the SWTrails Committee is not meeting this month.  The SWTrails committee has discussed this matter, and this proposal has been circulated to the SWTrails email list for comments.  We feel the matter is important enough to move ahead without a formal meeting of the SWTrails Committee.

The SWNI Transportation Committee moves that the SWNI Board approve a concept plan of action for participation of the SW Trails Committee in the Safe Routes to Schools initiative in SW private and public schools (as defined by the SW Trails Map).  This includes the SWNI neighborhoods as well as the SWHRL and other SW neighborhoods not a part of SWNI.

SWNI, through the SWTrails Group, would work in a supportive, collaborative way with members of each school, and with Dakota Inyoswan of PDOT to make this plan a reality.  Dakota has been involved in Safe Routes to School support for some time.

Plan of Action:
1. Identify schools wishing to participate in the Safe Routes to School initiative via media promotion and an invitation to all SW private and public schools. Require a minimum number of individuals from the school, parent groups and neighborhood to form a School Safety Committee (SSC) willing to commit time and energy to their school’s Safe Routes program.  We will work with a limited number of schools in SW each year due to resource availability.

2. Provide a "tool kit" (to be developed with PDOT) to the SSC (see below).

3. Provide consultation services to each SSC to include mapping, knowledge of existing and potential routes, help with identification of problems, goals and a suggested format and minimum contents for the final report.   (Robert Gray may be a good place to work on some of these steps as they have had a safe routes to school committee this past year and have many of the steps completed.)

4. Develop a list of projects for a SW Plan for Safe Routes to School for their respective school.
        A: Projects that can be done by city employees in the normal day to day operations such as striping parking, signs, getting brush removed along streets, signal management changes, and other improvements, which do not cost big bucks.
        B. Projects which can be done by community volunteers with a small budget from city or other sources.  Examples could be fixing off street trails, putting up   signage, walking children to school as a walking bus.
        C. Projects which require rights of way or easements. (We need a simple way of getting this kind of project off the ground with PDOT, they are not used to addressing this; the issue of liability is paramount)
        D. Major projects requiring significant capital dollars to complete and which will require they be included in the City of Portland Construction Project list and Transportation System Plan.
        E. Set priorities and establish who is responsible for implementing each part of the     plan, establish realistic time lines.  Track results annually for each school plan and for SW schools together.
        F. Take the tentative plan to the respective neighborhoods for review and approval.
      G. Bring the neighborhood approved plan to SWNI for approval before forwarding each plan to PDOT for inclusion in the TSP update process.

5. Develop a Safe Routes to School map for the school under existing conditions.  Update map as conditions improve.  Get the map published and distributed to the members of the student body each year.

6. Develop a Safe Routes to School signage program for the school, and take steps to implement the signage program.  Maintain the signs over the years.

7. Set up a way to track progress by school of the actual progress toward achieving the plans developed.  (Post it to the web site?)  We really need this as the school student, teacher and administration population changes each year and it is hard to develop an institutional memory of what was.

8. Participate in an annual update of the Portland Transportation System Plan where the identified CIP projects are included in the TSP and adopted by the City Council.

9. Examine the feasibility of a simple tracking system to determine the numbers of children walking and biking to school over time.  (Post it to the web site?)

10. Work with PDOT on a establishing and maintaining a Safe Routes web site (for each school?)

The SRTS "toolkit" could include the following . . .

  1.  Overview of the SWNI SRTS Initiative. Goals, objectives, action plans, participants.
  2. An overview of the 2001-2002 Oregon SRTS legislation and grant program.
  3. Resource directory of people, organizations, teaching materials, and web sites that might be helpful.
  4. Fact sheets: Health messages about the benefits of daily physical activity like walking and bicycling. Information on the increase in childhood obesity and Type II diabetes and the decrease in the number of youth getting the recommended 30-60 minutes of daily physical activity.
  5. Fact sheets: Environmental health messages about the benefits of getting people out of their cars.
  6. Fact sheets: Safety messages -- safe pedestrian behaviors, safe bicycle behaviors.
  7. Some information on what SRTS programs typically include, i.e. Identifying Safe Routes and Missing Links, Fixing the Problems, Short-term/low-cost Strategies, Longer-term/high-cost Strategies.
  8. Sample SRTS reports (provided by Oregon Department of Health from the grant program).
  9. Walkability and Bikability Checklists.
  10. Sample student/parent/staff surveys about traffic safety concerns, attitudes, and behaviors.
  11. Recommended process: How to get started, identify stakeholders to participate, gather basic data on student and staff travel behaviors/attitudes/concerns, conduct walkability and bikability studies, initiate education and enforcement improvements, identify and implement engineering improvements, promote the program, track results, evaluate the program.
  12. Existing maps
  13. Special events: Walk to School Day, October 2003