Safe Routes to School

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The most mainstream bicycle advocacy movement in America is undoubtedly Safe Routes to School (SR2S).   The numbers of school children walking and biking to school has plummeted around the nation as roads have become more congested and more dangerous.  Over the same period, childhood obesity rates have climbed alarmingly.  SR2S is a cross-cultural, community-driven movement that works to combat both of these negative trends.

 

In 1998, Marin County received one of two of the nation’s first pilot study Safe Routes to School program grants.  These pilot studies evolved into a replicable program where schools and their parent communities utilize a combination of education, engineering and enforcement strategies to entice more students to walk and bicycle to school.

 

In July 2005, Congressed established a National SR2S program that would distribute $612 million from 2005 to 2009.  Additionally, in August 2005, the State of California began its own Safe Routes to School program.  The State’s program has brought many good projects to the Bay Area,, however only 1 of 5 SR2S applications are funded.

 

In many communities, driving kids to school comprises between 20 to 30% of morning traffic.  This seemingly local issue has become a regional problem, thus BABC is advocating for the creation of a regional SR2S program via the 2009 Regional Transportation campaign. We assert that the creation of a robust regional SR2S program will improve overall mobility, help stem the tide of climate change, and foster a new generation that values walking, bicycling and transit usage as preferred modes of travel.