Thank you to those of you who attended the Safe Routes to School Regional Meeting this past Tuesday! We had over 60 people from DC, Virginia and Maryland attend the event. We appreciate your support and hard work making safe walking and bicycling to school a reality in the Greater Washington DC region.
Last night, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the county’s first-ever bicycle master plan! The Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Network provided comments and Bill Sadler, regional policy manager, was there to provide testimony. In all, 17 people came and spoke in favor of the plan. This plan would not be possible without strong support from the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), Fairfax County transportation planners and many others.
Passing this plan is just one step in making Fairfax County a safer place to bike. Implementation is key, especially getting the funding to build and maintain the infrastructure outlined in the plan. We look forward to working with Fairfax County as it executes the vision and goals of this plan.
Read our testimony here: Fairfax Bike Plan_Testimony 10-28-14
Read the full plan here.
Read FABB’s blog post about the hearing here, including the history of the plan.
Since 2005, federal transportation funds have been available for Safe Routes to School projects across the nation, helping to ensure children can walk and bicycle safely to and from school. In 2012, Congress consolidated the federal Safe Routes to School program into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), and made a number of changes to how those funds are awarded to states. A new report by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership examines how different states have adapted to those changes and how they are impacting the availability of Safe Routes to School funds. For the report, the National Partnership conducted interviews with 10 state department of transportation Safe Routes to School coordinators to gather information about their TAP implementation decisions are affecting Safe Routes to School funding.
While changes under the new law are still being implemented by state departments of transportation, this analysis examines trends in reduced funding for Safe Routes to School, the impact of federal matching requirements on low income communities, and best practices for states to sustain Safe Routes to School programs under the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The full report is available here.
Streetsblog reports on a new study that found schools with Safe Routes to School programs could boost the number of children walking and bicycling to school by 31% over a five-year period. The researchers looked at 801 schools in the District of Columbia, Florida, Oregon and Texas, and studied the difference in the rates of walking and bicycling between schools with and without Safe Routes to School programs between 2007-2012. They found that infrastructure improvements led to an 18% increase in walking and bicycling at schools with SRTS programs, while education and encouragement programs had a cumulative effect and produced significant increases over time, above 25% over five years.
The results of the study are impressive and demonstrate the value of Safe Routes to School programs and infrastructure investments. The study is the largest to date and the first to compare data on schools with and without SRTS programs. Over time, as more data on SRTS programs becomes available, we hope to see more positive results like this.
The study is authored by Noreen C. MacDonald, Ruth L. Steiner, Chanam Lee, Tori Rhoulac Smith, Xuemei Zhu and Yizhao Yang, is published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. The full journal
article is available here.
On Wednesday, October 15, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Countywide Bicycle Master Plan! This plan has been several years in the making, and a much-needed step in laying out a vision for safer bicycling in Fairfax County. The Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Network submitted comments on the plan, available here and in the link below. The next stop is the Board of Supervisors on October 28 at 3:30pm. Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling has a good recap of the meeting on their blog. More information on the plan is available on the plan is on the County’s website here.
Greater Greater Washington has published a new interactive map showing all the locations where bicycle fatalities have happened since 1987. Pins are labeled by color to differentiate between fatalities that happened in the roadway (yellow), intersection (red), crosswalk (black), shoulder (blue), sidewalk (orange), bicycle lane (green) or another location (white). The blog’s author, David Cranor, has also calculated the number of fatalities by location, with the most happening in intersections (37), followed closely by roadways (36) and crosswalks (20). By county, Prince George’s County has had the most bicycle fatalities, with 36 occurring over the 27-year period of study. This is followed by D.C (25) and Montgomery (21). Arlington County is the safest, with one bicycle fatality since 1987. The full rankings are available on the original blog post (cross posted on Wash Cycle blog.
The data comes from two sources: media reports and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Both have their limitations but are the most comprehensive sources of information on bicycle fatalities in the region and nationwide.
These statistics show we need to work to make our streets safer through greater investments in walking and bicycling, especially in places where there have been fatalities or major injuries in the past. Just yesterday, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board approved a number of transportation projects that will make our streets safer, but these are still a small percentage of the overall transportation budget. We are grateful to have many groups working on the ground in the DC region to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries, make the region a safer place to get around by walking and bicycling and advocate for more money to be spent on these improvements. Together, we can make the DC region a safer and healthier place to live and get around by walking and bicycling, and these statistics should be a call to action.
The interactive map can be viewed here.
On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) adopted the 2014 Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP) update and FY2015-2020 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Both documents outline the transportation investments the Greater Washington, DC region will make in the coming years. The CLRP provides a list of projects that the region will invest in over the next 26 years, and includes $243 billion in investments. The TIP is a shorter-term list of projects that will receive funding over the next six years, and includes $17.9 billion in investments.
The Greater Washington DC Safe Routes to School Regional Network submitted comments to the TPB and provided testimony at the board meeting.
We are encouraged by the significant investments in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and Safe Routes to School programs that appear in the CLRP and TIP project lists. On the positive side:
- There are over $15.7M in Safe Routes to School investments in the TIP project list, and many jurisdictions are represented.
- Most if not all communities are investing in new pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and incorporating it into larger road, highway and transit projects.
Yet overall, the amount this region is investing in walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School makes up less than 2% of the CLRP and TIP budgets.
- The CLRP Performance Analysis predicts a 49 percent increase in trips by walking and bicycling by 2040, and an even greater increase of 69 percent within activity centers.
- Walking and bicycling are also the only modes with a significant projected increase in overall mode share by 2040, jumping from 11% to 14% of all trips.
- Therefore, making investments in these modes is critical to ensure that pedestrians and bicyclists have safe, convenient routes to reach their destinations all across the region.
Moreover, we are investing in many new transit projects across the region, and most of the trips to and from these stations will be by foot or bike, especially in Activity Centers where most household and job growth will occur in the next 26 years. Providing safe and convenient connections between these transit stations and housing, jobs, schools and other services will be critical to generating ridership.
Overall, we are encouraged by the number of pedestrian, bicycle and Safe Routes to School projects included in the CLRP and TIP, but feel they could receive greater prominence given current forecasts, policies and demographic trends. While we acknowledge that the project lists reflect the priorities of local jurisdictions, the TPB could do more to encourage its members to apply for walking, bicycling and Safe Routes to School funding in future rounds.
Read our full comments and testimony below. More information on what’s included in the CLRP and TIP on the TPB website.
Want to learn all about how transportation decisions are made in the Greater Washington DC metro region? Apply for the Community Leadership Institute! Safe Routes to School practitioners and advocates are encouraged to apply! Applications are due October 24 and are available online here. The CLI involves a three-meeting commitment on the following dates:
- Thursday, Nov. 6, 6-9pm: College Park, MD
- Wednesday, Nov. 12, 6-9pm: Alexandria, VA
- Saturday, Nov. 15, 9am-12:30pm: Washington, DC
The Community Leadership Institute, or CLI, is an educational program that encourages successful community leaders to get involved in transportation-related decision-making at all levels. Over the course of three workshops, participants learn how, where, and when transportation decisions are made in the Washington region. The goal is to get people to “think regionally and act locally.”
The CLI includes information about the various planning processes at the state, regional, and local levels. CLI participants learn to be regional transportation leaders by connecting the interests of their local communities, constituencies, and elected officials with the planning issues facing the entire metropolitan Washington region. By reviewing case studies and participating in interactive group activities, participants also learn about the relationship between land use, jobs, housing, and transportation, and the implications of growth in our region.
The CLI is facilitated by former TPB Chair Kathy Porter, who currently serves on the WMATA Board of Directors and previously served as Mayor of Takoma Park, Maryland.
Questions? Contact Bryan Hayes or call 202-962-3273.
Join us on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 to talk about all things Safe Routes to School in the Greater Washington, DC region! Registration is open and available here.
We are very excited to have Mark Fenton as the keynote speaker. Mark is a national expert in public health, planning and transportation. He has lots of experience and expertise in Safe Routes to School as well as an unparalleled amount of energy! He will be first on agenda to energize us for the day!
Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Location: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, 777 North Capitol Street NE, Training Center, First Floor
Directions: On the MWCOG website here. Accessible via the Metro Red Line to Union Station and a short 3 block walk!
8:00am: Networking breakfast
8:30am: Mark Fenton Keynote, “Taking Safe Routes to School to the Next Level”
10:00am: Safe Routes to School Best Practices from the Greater Washington DC Region: Presentations from Safe Routes to School coordinators and champions, including:
- Toole Design Group: Safe Routes to School examples from other regions in the U.S.
- Montgomery County: #YOLO Walk Safe campaign for pedestrian safety among high school students
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Regional Street Smart campaign
- Fairfax County: Reflections on the first year of their Safe Routes to School program
- Washington, DC District Department of Transportation
- Fairfax County Public Schools PTA: Fire Up Your Feet program
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Funding for Safe Routes to School – Transportation/Land Use Connections Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program.
12:00pm: Adjourn and join a friend for lunch at Union Station.
The event is free but registration is required. Register now!
Check the Regional Network website for the latest agenda and updates on the event.
Questions? Contact Bill Sadler, Greater Washington DC Regional Policy Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-732-4007