As described in the blog here, we have entered the next chapter of Measure B. It’s time to build some more bike projects!
One of the pots of money that SVBC is excited about is a $250 million set-aside for education and encouragement. Each city will get an allocation to spend on behavior change activities, getting folks to ride and walk for transportation.
One of the nation’s most popular education and encouragement programs is called Safe Routes to Schools, (SRTS). Through SRTS, money is spent to interrupt bad transportation habits early in a child’s life by introducing and promoting the use of feet and pedals – bicycling and walking to school.
SVBC is thrilled that cities will be receiving more money to spend on education and encouragement and in particular, safe routes to schools programs. That said, we also want to make sure money is spent effectively and creates lasting behavioral change.
For that reason, last year, SVBC, worked with VTA and Santa Clara County Public Health to submit a proposal to the Mineta Transportation Institute. The proposal sought funding to research what makes an effective SRTS program. What are the needed elements, what doesn’t work and how can we make sure that we’re spending public dollars wisely? One fact that prompted the question is that in Palo Alto, children ride to school at a rate of 45% while just 15 miles south, rates in San Jose are closer to 2%. Why?
The proposal was selected and a team of researchers out of CalPoly is now working to answer those questions. We at SVBC look forward to a report that will ensure that our Safe Routes to Schools programs create generations of kids who will lead us out of our unsustainable, unhealthy and un-fun auto-dependency.