Getting There Together: A Message from the Director

This has been a very busy fall for the National Center for Safe Routes to School, and I’m sure for all of you as well. In the past few months we’ve released: brand new analysis of U.S. school travel data, the first of a series of “Getting Results” resources, which shows communities are seeing benefits to SRTS programs, and the Federal Safe Routes to School Progress Report, a report that among other things found that the federal SRTS program reaches communities across income levels. The research team here is pleased to contribute these resources to expand the body of knowledge surrounding Safe Routes to School. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll get a chance to explore them to see what can be helpful in your own SRTS efforts.

We’re wrapping up our 2011 Walk to School Day activities and couldn’t be happier with the success of this year’s record-breaking celebration. In 2011, we counted more than 4,000 registered events! Students, families, community leaders and elected officials across the country got out and celebrated the importance of walking (and rolling) to school. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took their involvement a step further this year, committing to support Walk to School Day for the next five years. Thanks to each and every one of you who helped make this year’s event a resounding success – your effort and dedication are inspirational!

We’re already hard at work to improve our support and coordination of the event in 2012. Plans are underway for an updated Walk to School Day website – same address, more resources – and we’re deep in the planning stages of a spring bike to school event. Get ready to shift into a new gear with Bike to School Day on May 9, 2012. More information about this inaugural national event will be coming soon.

If you missed the SRTS National Conference in Minneapolis this year, the presentations are now posted at www.saferoutesconference.org. Check it out and download any information that might be useful.

I’m also pleased to share that the painting the National Center and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership presented to the Honorable James L. Oberstar in recognition of his dedication to the SRTS program now hangs along northern Minnesota’s 115-mile bike trail, the Mesabi Trail, at Mesabi Station. Please stop by to see it if you’re in Eveleth, Minnesota.

Later this week we’re going to announce the recipient of the national 2011 Safe Routes to School Award as well as the next round of mini-grant recipients. Stay tuned!

Thanks for a wonderful 2011, and here’s to an even better 2012!

Lauren Marchetti
Director
National Center for Safe Routes to School