News Briefs

"Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities" resource available for local governments

The Local Government Commission and Active Living Leadership has released a new fact sheet that highlights how cities, counties and school districts can work together to address childhood obesity. From Safe Routes to School programs to community gardens, it offers tactics, tools and inspiration for local officials to leverage community resources.

The document provides examples of cities, counties and school districts working together to address childhood obesity. It offers ideas and guidance that will help local government officials leverage community resources and identify opportunities for collaboration. It also provides resources and references to assist policy-makers in developing and implementing new initiatives.

EPA provides Smart Growth assistance in six States

Communities in six states will receive customized technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help them put the principles of more efficient, affordable, and environmentally sensitive growth into action.

The communities were selected under a competitive, nationwide application process that drew 67 submissions from 30 states. Under a federal contract, each community will receive approximately $45,000 in direct assistance from a team of national experts organized by EPA and other partners to work with local leaders. Team members will have expertise in disciplines relevant to each community's unique needs.

EPA developed the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program in response to communities' requests for help in achieving their development goals. Through this program, EPA provides technical assistance from private-sector experts to help communities find the best tools and resources to plan for growth in ways that sustain environmental and economic progress and create a high quality of life.

Rhode Island cities and towns want safe routes to school

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the country, but their residents have a loud voice when it comes to Safe Routes to School.

Upon the closing of the first round of project solicitation, nearly 50 percent of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns responded with applications for funding. Eighteen cities submitted 32 applications for various Safe Routes to School funding, ranging from infrastructure requests to requests for education programs.

Requirements were set forth for SRTS program applicants; programs needed to be school-based, and town officials (including law enforcement and public works or engineering) must be on the SRTS team. The school, at a minimum, must include the principal with parents, teachers, and school nurse to develop the program recommended. Lastly, the chief executive of the municipality, the superintendent of schools and the principal of the school applying must sign the application.

It is the goal of the Rhode Island Safe Routes to School Coordinator that those awarded funding will be announced in early fall with project agreements and implementation to follow.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center launches redesigned Web site for walking information

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, in its continued effort to disseminate information and technical assistance on pedestrian and bicycle safety, has launched its redesigned pedestrian Web site.

New features of the site include:

  • A centralized, Web-based Library of pedestrian and bicycling-related materials and documents compiled by practitioners and researchers.
  • A searchable database of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to walking and pedestrian safety. If users do not find their answer within the database, there is a mechanism for them to submit a question to the PBIC.
  • A searchable database of upcoming pedestrian events and training opportunities.
  • A News Room with PBIC press releases, resources for the media and recent news articles. Users can also sign up to received email updates and news from the Center.

The new site was developed with input from site users and PBIC stakeholders. Revised and new content on the site was developed in conjunction with pedestrian safety experts from across the country. New and updated content includes more detailed discussion of plans and policies that support walking, information on overcoming barriers to walking, information on how to find pedestrian data and statistics, detailed education and enforcement messages and strategies as well as guidance to assist communities in making pedestrian improvements.

The redesign of the site was funded through renewal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from FHWA.

For more information regarding the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center or walkinginfo.org, please emailpbic@pedbikeinfo.org.

Chicagoland Bicycle Federation teams with US Environmental Protection Agency to provide options for companies committing environmental violations

As efforts increase to reduce carbon emissions and negative environmental impacts, a new collaboration between Chicagoland Bicycle Federation and the US EPA will allow for companies out of compliance with EPA standards to pay their fines by giving back to the community and the environment.

The Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) is an environmentally-focused project that a company agrees to undertake when settling an enforcement action. Beginning October 1, The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation will have four new project ideas added to the EPA's menu of options from which a company can choose to fund in response to the company's violation.

The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation options, ranging in cost from $200 (for a new bike rack) to $200,000 (for a 26-mile bicycle trail), were chosen because they met SEP standards that state a project idea must "improve, restore, protect, or reduce risks to public health and/or the environment beyond that achieved by compliance with applicable laws."

EPA enforcement teams have the authority to incorporate a SEP into the settlement agreement in addition to requirements to correct the violation. In some case, the company could receive some penalty offset for participation in a SEP.

For more information, please contact Arline Welty at Chicagoland Bicycle Federation at 312-427-3325 orarline@biketraffic.org, or visit here.