Highlights from Walk to School Day in Southern California

Screenshot 2015-10-08 15.35.40Many communities in Southern California participated in Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 7, with more than 100 schools in the City of LA alone! We congratulate all the schools, parents and communities who held successful Walk to School Day events this year. We are also encouraged by the local news coverage, including a Los Angeles Times article highlighting that over a third of Los Angeles city students walk to school:

“People say nobody walks in L.A., but you look at the data and it couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said. Nationwide, 11% of students walk to school. In Los Angeles County, nearly a third do so.”–Jessica Meaney, Investing in Place

LA Metro also got in the Walk to School Day spirit with an event near the Hollywood and Western station. A reminder that Metro is holding six Safe Routes to School summits around LA County starting next week!

In Orange County, Bathgate Elementary School in Mission Viejo received a visit from the staff of U.S. Congresswoman Mimi Walters (CA-45), who presented the school with a certificate of Congressional Recognition for “the school’s outstanding participation and promotion of a healthy lifestyle amongst the school students and community.” Rep. Walters sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, so her support of the federal Safe Routes to School program is important and promising!

Finally, in the Inland Empire, a bike rodeo was held as part of the Moreno Valley Safe Routes to School Program.



Congratulations on another successful Walk to School Day, Southern California. See you again next October!

LA Metro Holding Safe Routes to School Summits in October. Register Today!

Metro SRTS logo

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has announced the dates for six Safe Routes to School Regional Summits in LA County this October. These summits are being by held to gather feedback from community stakeholders on the state of school and youth travel within LA County, identify resource and capacity needs and foster successful implementation and sustainable Safe Routes to School program growth. The expected outcomes of the summits include identifying activities, programs and responsibilities for a regional Safe Routes to School Program; match specific partner organizations with feasible and implementable activities and programs; identify strategies for implementation (both short and long-term) for inclusion in Metro’s Active Transportation Strategic Plan and identify strategies to increase competitiveness of LA County in future grant funding opportunities like the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP).

Registration for the summits is available here. We highly encourage our partners in LA County to attend these summits and contribute to the discussion on Safe Routes to School. These summits are a great opportunity to showcase your Safe Routes to School efforts, share your successes and challenges and meet others working on Safe Routes to School across LA County.

More information is available on this flyer and this fact sheet. Dates, times and locations are below:

Register now!

Tuesday, October 13
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Robinson Park Rec. Center – Multi-use Room
1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103

South LA
Wednesday, October 14
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
The Reef – The Living Room
1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007

San Fernando
Thursday, October 15
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Recreation Park – Multi-Purpose Room
208 Park Ave., San Fernando, CA 91340

Monday, October 19
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Liberty Park – Washington Room
19211 Studebaker Road, Cerritos, CA 90703

Tuesday, October 20
10:15 am – 1:30 pm
Carson Library – The Meeting Room
151 E. Carson Street, Carson, CA 90745

Culver City
Wednesday, October 21
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Veteran’s Memorial Building – Main Room
4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230


Register now!

SCAG Launches Go Human Campaign to Promote Safe Walking and Bicycling!

  GOHUMAN-WEB-BANNER-300x250_WATCH_ENGOn Monday, September 28, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) officially launched the Go Human campaign, a safety and encouragement campaign meant to promote safe walking and bicycling while also reminding drivers to pay attention to pedestrians and bicyclists. The campaign is funded through a $2.3 million Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant from Cycle 1 that SCAG received in 2014. The goals of the campaign are to reduce traffic collisions in Southern California and encourage people to walk and bike more. Messages will appear on freeway billboards, buses and bus shelters across the six-county SCAG region. The Go Human campaign is a collaborative effort between SCAG and the public health and county transportation commissions in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Read more of this post

Strategic Growth Council Releases Draft Guidelines for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program!

In preparation for the next round of Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grants, the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) recently released updated draft guidelines to further improve the program to promote the creation of walkable and bicycle-friendly communities! With other partners in the Coalition for Active Transportation Leadership, the National Partnership provided input to ensure this round of grants funds projects that directly encourage walking and bicycling. Here are some of the changes we’re excited to report:

  • Infrastructure for transportation is now TWO categories. Now, there is sustainable transportation infrastructure which is transportation and transit capital costs which result in people switching from cars to roads. These investments can provide access to transit or further expand the bicycle/pedestrian network in the project area. And, there is transportation related amenities which are capital improvements such as bicycle parking or street trees that provide support for bicyclists and pedestrians. Creating two distinct categories for transportation will allow us to better track investments and support projects that create both infrastructure and amenities for walking and bicycling.
  • Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from active transportation just got better because the guidelines now allocate less points for GHG reductions (30 points now, instead of 55 points, out of 100) and added 10 points for active transportation. Projects can receive a maximum of 10 points for capital improvements or programs that encourage the use of active transportation. This means that sustainable transportation infrastructure is eligible and transportation related amenities are not — which should create a further incentive for projects to investment in meaningful active transportation infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Parking for bicycles is a requirement for all affordable housing developments – there must be at least one secure overnight bicycle parking spot for every two units! And the updated guidelines limit parking costs as an eligibility for the AHSC grants, with the intent to phase out parking costs completely in the future. Funds will still be available for parking spaces for car share, electric vehicle charging, and zero emission vehicles.

These are just some of the highlights from the updated AHSC guidelines. We encourage you to read the guidelines and weigh in! The National Partnership will also continue to work with our partners and the SGC to ensure that these guidelines encourage robust bicycling and walking. Weigh in by attending the next SGC meeting (details below) or submitting written comments, which are due on Friday October 30th and should be sent to AHSC@sgc.ca.gov.

SGC Meeting

Date: October 15th, 2015

Time: 10am – 1pm

Location: CalEPA Byron Sher Auditorium 1001 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95812

Coachella Environmental Justice forum brought together concerned community members

On Friday, September 18th, community members from Coachella Valley gathered to discuss environmental justice concerns in the area. The forum was presented by representatives from Building Healthy Community-Coachella Valley, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The presenters are apart of the Women’s Policy Institute embarking on a policy project sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of California and are focused on environmental justice issues in Riverside County.

The presentation included defining EJ communities,  slides on what EJ communities look like and a primer on tools such as the Calenviro Screen 2.0, which is used to identify EJ communities. Community members also participated in a discussion on environmental concerns in Coachella Valley and ways to find solutions. Identifying EJ Communities is critical to addressing the disproportionate environmental burdens faced by many vulnerable communities and is the first step in advocating for reinvestment. Concerns over air quality, sewage/flooding issues and the lack of active transportation infrastructure were among topics discussed. The policy project team will continue to do advocacy in Riverside County and is seeking input from residents on priority concerns and how we can address them together with local leadership.

To get involved and learn more about upcoming events, please email: the-gaia-project-wpi@googlegroups.com

Group photo left to right: —Anayeli Zavala, Sahara Huazano (BHC- Coachella Valley), Jean Kayano (CCAEJ), —Michele Hasson (Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability), Penny Newman (CCAEJ) and Demi Espinoza (Safe Routes to School National Partnership).




Caltrans Announces ATP Award Recommendations!

ct_logo_trans (1)On September 15, Caltrans announced the staff recommendations for the state and rural components of Active Transportation Program’s (ATP) Cycle 2. These awards will not be final until the California Transportation Commission formally adopts them at their October 21-22 meeting, but it is a good indication of which projects will be funded. It also shows the allocation for different types of projects, the amount going to disadvantaged communities and the proportion for each region across the state. These award recommendations represent 60% of the total pot of ATP money. The remaining 40% will be allocated by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to projects located within their boundaries, some of which have different guidelines or formulas for allocating ATP funding. Those award recommendations will be announced later in the year.

The good news for Safe Routes to School advocates is almost half of the recommended projects (47.9%) from the state and rural pots combined will go to Safe Routes to School Projects. Forty-three (43) of the 86 projects recommended for funding from the statewide pot, and 15 of the 27 rural projects, are Safe Routes to School Projects. This comes out to approximately $103 million for Safe Routes to School projects across the state including rural areas. Moreover, 88% of funds from the statewide pot, and 72% from the rural pot, will directly benefit disadvantaged communities, a huge win for many places around the state that have some of the biggest challenges to walking and bicycling.

The bad news is that these awards barely meet the need. Caltrans received 617 applications for ATP funding, requesting over $1 billion total. The statewide pot has only $179.7 million available, while the rural one has $35.5 million available. While 40% of ATP funding is still to be allocated by MPOs (approximately $140 million total), the demand for active transportation funding significantly outweighs the supply.

This is why we are working hard in Sacramento to increase the amount of funding in ATP. ABX1-23 would increase the Active Transportation Program by $125M to develop walking and bicycling networks that will connect schools, shopping centers, and jobs. This bill also ensures that new funding for road maintenance will prioritize disadvantaged communities. There is still time to take action to let your legislators know to support this bill!

The full list of award recommendations is available here. The awards will be considered for approval at the next California Transportation Commission meeting on October 21-22.

2015 Legislative Recap: Wins! Next Step: Support #CompleteStreets in the Special Session!

Last week, Safe Routes to School National Partnership – in coalition with our partners – spent many hours advocating to legislators for stronger policies and additional funding to increase walking, bicycling, and ensuring children have safe routes to school. The legislative session ended last Friday, here’s the wins and the next step!

The Wins

  • SB 350 passed! In the final week, the National Partnership joined with others to support this landmark climate bill, which originally called for a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use, 50 percent increase in energy efficiency for buildings, and 50 percent increase in renewable energy – all by 2030! Unfortunately, oil companies launched a misleading campaign that resulted in the removal of the petroleum piece. But – as Natural Resources Defense Council and Coalition for Clean Air state – this is still a huge win for California. Dependent on the Governor’s signature, we now have ambitious targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy which will help us in our battle against climate change.
  • AB 8 passed! The National Partnership supported Assembly member Gatto’s bill to create an emergency alert system in response to fatalities or serious injuries caused by hit-and-run collisions. As we work with our partners and legislators to develop policies and funding to increase walking and bicycling in California, we know it is critical to ensure the safety of all users on the road – especially our children. This emergency alert system is yet another tool to ensure the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.
  • AB 744 passed! The National Partnership supported Assembly member Chau’s bill to reduce parking requirements for affordable housing developments in transit priority areas. Reducing parking minimums in development areas with safe and convenient alternatives to driving such as walking, bicycling, and transit is a proven strategy to reduce driving and ensure our children – and our communities – have access to healthier ways to get to key destinations such as school and work.

Now, these bills will go to the Governor’s desk, either to be signed into law or vetoed. Both AB 8 and AB 744 have been vetoed before so now, it’s more important than ever to send in letters of support to the Governor’s office for AB 8 and AB 744. Stay tuned for action alerts from us to support both of these bills!

Next Step: Support #CompleteStreets in the Special Session on Transportation!

The special session on transportation did not result in a deal by the Friday deadline. Fortunately, normal rules do not apply to special session, which gives us more time to ensure that any deal that increases transportation revenues also gives Californians’ real transportation choices!

  • Take action TODAY to support two key bills, SBX1-1 and ABX1-23, in the special session. Click here to send your letter of support!
    • SBX1-1 will ensure that any road maintenance project will include complete streets and develops comprehensive reporting language to ensure that these funds will also move us forward on our climate, health, and equity goals.
    • ABX1-23 will increase the Active Transportation Program by $125M to develop walking and bicycling networks that will connect schools, shopping centers, and jobs. This bill also ensures that new funding for road maintenance will prioritize disadvantaged communities.

Join us at the EJ Community Summit in Coachella Valley to discuss concerns about the environment

This is an open invitation to the community to discuss about environmental issues and direct effects to our health and lack of resources. On Friday, September 18 th we are inviting the community, and organizations to be part of the conversation at the Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment (DACE) at 5:00 PM to find solutions to improve our community’s health.

EJ Community Summit
WHEN: Friday, September 18, 2015
TIME: 5:00pm
WHERE: Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment
53-990 Enterprise Way,
Coachella, California 92236

Dinner, Translation and Childcare provided!
(Also the A.C. will be running to cool us down!!!)

Sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of California, presenters will include Women’s Policy Institute fellows from Building Healthy Communities, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Safe Routes to School National Partnership

EJSummit flyer1

ACTION ALERT: Voice your support for amendments for Complete Streets and climate goals

Voice your support for amendments for Complete Streets and climate goals,

Send a letter of support to the Senate Transportation Committee by Friday, Sept. 4.

Right now, we are in the midst of an extraordinary session that could raise up to $6 billion dollars in revenue for road maintenance and rehabilitation.

We have made huge strides to reducing greenhouse gases and it’s critical that this new funding does not allow us to backslide on our goals. We need your help to send a letter of support to the Senate Transportation Committee for amendments that advance active transportation and climate goals. 

Senator Beall’s bill, SBX1-1, is the only bill that will raise significant new revenue for road maintenance and rehabilitation projects. Yesterday, we secured amendments that will:

  • Require all SHOPP and STIP projects on high-speed or high-traffic roadways to provide safe, protected facilities for people walking and bicycling. This amendment will advance the implementation of Complete Streets on the most dangerous roads that are undergoing maintenance and repair.
  • Require Caltrans and local agencies to report on the impacts of SHOPP and STIP projects on greenhouse gas emissions, public health, air quality, natural resources, pedestrian, bicycle, and transit mobility, and co-benefits to disadvantaged community residents. If Caltrans and local agencies do not further the state’s climate, equity, and health goals, their funding could be withheld in the future.

These amendments will ensure that this funding does not increase greenhouse gases and move us forward on our ambitious climate, equity, and health goals.

Now we need your support to ensure these amendments remain! We’re facing pushback and need your help!

Download this letter of support template and send your letters to Eric Thronson (eric.thronson@sen.ca.gov) in the Senate Trans Committee by Friday, September 4.

25 Days to Make Walking, Bicycling, and Transit a Priority

We have just 25 days to convince Governor Brown and legislative leaders to provide funding for alternative transportation, including public transit and bicycle & walking projects, in this year’s transportation funding package.

To aid in this effort, the California Transit Association has launched iTransit, a grassroots-style advocacy campaign designed to connect everyday Californians with their representatives in Sacramento to further promote the benefits of public transit and other modes of alternative transportation.  Using cutting-edge civic engagement software, iTransit makes it easy for transit riders and advocates to email, Tweet, and post on the Facebook walls of their state representatives in support of including alternative transportation funding in the work of this year’s special session.

If you:

  • Want better transit service?  Go to iTransit  and tell your state reps to support new money for public transit.  #iTransit #fundtransit
  • Believe walking, bicycling, and transit is key to healthier environment & economy. Visit iTransit  to support money for alternative transportation. #iTransit #fundtransit
  • Know that California thrives when all transportation modes work. Visit iTransit to urge your state reps to invest in all forms of transportation. #iTransit #fundtransit

We urge you – don’t delay, act now to promote iTransit!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,398 other followers

%d bloggers like this: