Safe Routes to School
Not long ago, half of all children got to school by biking or walking. Today, just 15 percent of school children bike or walk to school. An international movement in over 40 countries and in all 50 states has been underway to reverse this recent trend by aiming to promote more biking and walking through increased safety, awareness, and education.
Our programs use the following components to promote more walking and bicycling:
The Five E’s:
- Education – Classroom and outdoor instruction that teach students safe walking and biking skills to use on their way to and from school.
- Encouragement – Keep participants engaged through events, contests and initiatives that encourage students and parents to walk and bike to school more often.
- Engineering – Help identify barriers and solve problems in the built environment to make biking and walking easier.
- Enforcement – Work with law enforcement to improve traffic safety around schools.
- Evaluation – Measure and monitor progress and success of programs and activities.
In partnership with the San Mateo County Office of Education, SVBC has been involved in promoting and delivering Safe Routes to School programming at over half a dozen cities in San Mateo County. Our efforts at these schools are not only meant to promote more walking and bicycling, but to also generate awareness in the community about the need to be more conscious about child safety. In addition to providing student walk and bike education and encouragement, multiple workshops and events are organized to engage parents and the entire community. To learn more about the San Mateo County Safe Routes to School program, visit Safe Routes to School San Mateo County.
SVBC has worked with the City of Santa Clara and Alta Planning + Design to implement a two-year Safe Routes to School program at six elementary schools and one middle school in the Santa Clara Unified School District: Montague, Bowers, Briarwood, Haman, Sutter, Scott Lane, and Cabrillo. The program included bike and walk to school education and encouragement through classroom instruction, bike rodeos, walking school buses, and other fun events and activities that promote more walking and bicycling. The program is expected to continue during the 2015-2016 school year, with an addition of more schools. More details will be announced soon. To learn more about this program, visit Santa Clara Safe Routes to School.
SVBC also reaches out to provide support and expertise to other schools and agencies that want to implement Safe Routes to School programs in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. In Santa Clara County, we are a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Work Group for the Traffic Safe Communities Network of Santa Clara County Public Health.
We would like to thank Specialized Bicycles for supporting our youth education and Safe Routes to School programs.
What a great experience! On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, a slew of stakeholders (parents, school trustee’s, school representatives, Gilroy Engineering department, SVBC, and etc.) woke up early (arrived by 7:20am) for a beautiful and brisk walk around the school’s wider block. Usually a walk audit is undertaken by SCCPH and the school staff as part of organizing a SRTS Planning Meeting, but asking all stakeholders of the planning meeting to also be involved in a walk audit before the Planning Meeting was definitely a treat!
Participants were able to watch firsthand some crosswalks where Crossing Guards were already assisting children to cross busy intersections, but we heard that there still remained some serious safety concerns. It was more than that; physically observing parents U-Turn randomnly around a corner or just rolling through yet another crosswalk – it made me (a parent, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) employee, and someone from outside the community), stand up and be concerned!
For the second year, we are presenting awards for the following categories at the Silicon Valley Bike Summit on August 8 in Mountain View. We held open, online nominations in May 2017 and voting in June 2017. Come to the event to honor the award winners, who will all also be participating in panels at the Bike Summit!
The Silicon Valley Bike Summit is less than one month away and we are excited to share some of the program with you. One of our sessions will be focused on Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Planning and Implementation. We interviewed two of the panelists to find out what they hope to share and learn at the Bike Summit: Karen Briones, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Los Gatos Union School District and Matthew Reeves, Safe Routes to School Coordinator and General Program Associate for Redwood City 2020.