Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director
On June 22nd, the Forest Grove City Council joined the call for a region-wide “Safe Routes to School” initiative to serve every kid in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah counties by unanimously passing a resolution calling on the Metro Regional Government to act.
This makes Forest Grove the fourth city in the Metro region and the third in Washington County to call for increased action to improve the health of kids by making communities safer for walking and biking. Tigard, Milwaukie, and Beaverton adopted similar resolutions in the spring.
Metro Councilors have the opportunity in the coming year to allocate funding to create region-wide safe routes to school.
Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington represents part of Washington County—a county where more than 70% of 8th graders do not get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the 2013 Oregon Healthy Teens Survey.
"For me Safe Routes to School is about how important it is for us to ensure that youth in our community experience a healthier, better world,” said Metro Councilor Katheryn Harrington. “And even more, people of all ages will reap multiple benefits from providing safe routes in our communities."
Research shows that kids who most need opportunities for physical activity don’t have the necessary safe infrastructure—sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes—in their neighborhoods and around their schools to support a healthy childhood.
Lack of physical activity is a leading contributing factor for obesity, diabetes and heart disease—a problem for Oregon, where one in four kids is overweight or obese.
In the last year, thousands of parents and community members from around the Metro region have signed petitions and sent emails in support of a region-wide Safe Routes to School initiative as a solution for their families.
Join us in asking Metro to make Safe Routes to School for 150,000 kids in every school district in the Metro area.