County Safe Routes to School Program: Riverside

Riverside County Safe Routes to School Program Overview

Walking School Bus, City of Riverside, a photo by Safe Routes to School California, photo credit: G. Carlson on Flickr.Riverside County Department of Public Health Injury Prevention Services received Safe Routes to School Cycle 1 funds to provide pedestrian and bicycle education and encouragement activities at schools in the city of Riverside. The program selected elementary schools with the highest injury and fatality rates among children ages 5-15. Many of these schools are considered low-income, with 75 percent of the student population eligible for free and reduced meals.

SRTS Workshops

Riverside’s workshops exemplify the true spirit of collaboration. Each of the “5-E’s” presentation modules are presented by experts in the field. The Mayor and/or City Council attend each of the workshops and help facilitate the brainstorming session with workshop participants. Prior to the workshop, this team evaluates the traffic and safety conditions in and around each school, collecting pedestrian and car counts, observing driver behavior, and identifying alternative entry or drop off points near the school. Interviews with the principal, PTA, parents, crossing guards are incorporated into the presentations.

Outreach

“Why Safe Routes To School” power point presentations are given at various venues attracting large numbers of parents, community groups, public agencies, school administrators, and transportation engineers. Outreach efforts have helped to build our Coalition into a broad membership of community stakeholders. In the first 14 months of the two-year Cycle 1 project, staff conducted 138 outreach presentations, participated in 16 health fairs, fit and distributed 609 bicycle helmets, educated 5912 students, organized two Walk To School Day events with over 8,000 student participants, facilitated 159 Walking Wednesday programs with 5,991 students participating, conducted 10 Coalition meetings with 316 attendees, and conducted four SRTS Workshops.

Safe Routes to School Coalition

The SRTS Coalition membership is represented by a dynamic group of community stakeholders: parents, principals, PTA presidents, city council, traffic engineers, police, highway patrol, neighborhood watch, school district representatives, concerned citizens and regional government agencies. The Coalition started with 11 members in 2008 and grew to an average attendance of 40 by 2011. The Coalition is the vehicle for planning community events and school programs like Walking Wednesday and Fit Fridays, obtaining community input to improve program strategies, and disseminating legislative and local program updates.

Partnership and Funding

Since 2008, Riverside County Injury Prevention Services partnered with city and county public works departments to secure more than $2.5 million in infrastructure and non-infrastructure Safe Routes To School funding. The program leveraged thousands of dollars in donations, staff time, and contributions from private and public sector organizations, volunteers and community organizations. Leveraging resources enables the SRTS program to promote services beyond its initial scope of work.

9/08/11 Update and further detail per email from Gail Carslon’s: “From Non Infrastructure Cycle 1 grant, we were able to leverage over $220,000 of infrastructure improvements for our schools through Safe Routes To School Workshops.  There is more contributed in engineering and law enforcement staff time as well, so probably closer to $300,000 leveraged from our NI project activities.”

For more information contact Program Manager Gail Carlson at GCarlson@rivcocha.org.

Thanks Gail for providing this great write up!

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