Guest Blogger: Christina Bodamer, Oregon Government Relations Director
This last May, the AHA’s work through the For Every Kid Coalition succeeded in securing an unprecedented investment in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) in the Portland metro area: $3.5 million specifically earmarked to improve safety for people walking, bicycling, and accessing transit, especially near schools. This dedication to SRTS is extraordinary at the regional level, dedicating $1.5 million for a regional Safe Routes program and $2 million for street improvements near Title 1 (low-income) schools and trails. By creating safe routes to school, more kids can get the daily health benefits of walking and biking while reducing the amount of motor vehicles on the road during peak times.
Even with our great success in Portland, far too many kids across the state of Oregon still can’t walk and bike to school because of unsafe streets and a lack of necessary education programming. Which is why we are now building on the momentum from our most recent success in Portland by expanding the For Every Kid Coalition into a statewide Campaign, working to make sure that Safe Routes To School is included in the full 2017 Oregon Transportation package.
Our work will not be easy. Washington County alone has learned in a recently completed needs assessment that over $100 million will be required to make their streets safe. But the For Every Kid Coalition is committed to making Safe Routes to School for every kid in Oregon by continuing to advocate for dedicated funding for both education programs and street improvements near schools.
Governor Brown’s appointed Joint Transportation Committee is hosting town hall meetings in the following communities this fall. Consider attending and sharing why Safe Routes to School are important to your local schools:
Bend: August 18, 5:30 p.m.
Wille Hall, Coats Campus Center, Central Oregon Community College, 2600 NW College Way, Bend
Medford: August 31, 5:00 p.m.
Jackson County Library, Medford Branch, 205 S. Central Avenue, Medford
Newport: September 15, 5:00 p.m.
Ballroom, Embarcadero Hotel, 1000 SE Bay Blvd, Newport
Hillsboro: September 19, 5:00 p.m.
Shirley Huffman Auditorium, Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E. Main Street, Hillsboro
Salem: September 2, 5:15 p.m.
Hearing Room F, Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court Street NE, Salem
When it is safe, convenient, and fun to walk, bike and access transit to neighborhood schools, our children are healthier, our streets are safer for everyone, and our communities thrive. Every kid in Oregon deserves a chance at a healthy future. #ForEveryKid