What do a walking street sign, a rolling beetle, 650 Safe Routes to School practitioners, and 135 PowerPoint presentations have in common? The Safe Routes to School National Conference!
Held in Sacramento, Calif., from August 13-15, the 4th SRTS National Conference boasted a new attendance record—the 650 SRTS practitioners noted above—and several special new features, including an appearance by Super Weevil a fun-loving, trike-riding insect who promotes wearing safety gear when riding bikes, skateboards, and scooters.
While Super Weevil, and his fellow mascot, an unnamed larger than life pedestrian crossing sign, added some levity to the proceedings, a lot of serious SRTS work was going on also.
The conference featured 48 Breakouts, Mind Mixers and Implementation Workshops; two Plenaries and two Keynotes; two Tours of Local Model Projects; a California Advocacy Day; a Charitable Bike Build (during which participants built, with the help of local bike mechanics, 21 bikes that were given to local charities for the use of children they serve); a Mobile Bike Mural; Onsite Bike Valets and Bike Share, as well as Free Transit Passes; and a Kidical Mass Ride.
Most importantly, the conference offered countless opportunities for networking and brainstorming on ways to resolve the barriers to Safe Routes, as participants shared their experiences and best practices and learned from others doing the same.
For those who could not attend the conference, you can still benefit from the collected SRTS wisdom shared at the conference. Most of the presentations made at the conference—135 at the moment—are available on the conference website. Presentations covered every possible gamut, from rural to urban; from elementary school to middle school to high school to college; from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York City; from apps and maps to the Five E’s; from working with school boards to working with MPOs to working statewide to working with tribal nations.
To see the full list of conference sessions go to http://saferoutesconference.org/program/sessions-by-time (a link near the top of the page also offers a pdf of the full conference program). For a list of conference presentations go to http://saferoutesconference.org/program/presentations.