In the summer of 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that highlights how the built environment of a community affects children's opportunities for physical activity. They declare that,"'Utilitarian' physical activity, such as walking or bicycling to school and to other activities, is an equally important part of a child's daily life. Environments that promote more active lifestyles among children and adolescents will be important to enable them to achieve recommended levels of physical activity."
Introducing: Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School (SR2S) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to school. SR2S provides a variety of important benefits to kids and their communities, including improved health, reduced traffic congestions, better air quality, andenhanced neighborhood safety. SR2S is a solution for the alarming nationwide trend toward child obesity and inactivity.
The National Safe Routes to School Program
SAFETEA-LU, the current federal transportation bill (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – Legacy for Users) includes $612 million over five years for a new national Safe Routes to School program providing benefits in all 50 states. Communities will use this funding to construct new bike lanes, pathways, and sidewalks, as well as to launch Safe Routes education and promotion campaigns in elementary and middle schools.
To date, four Spartanburg County schools have secured federal Safe Routes to School grants for $200,000. These include Lone Oak Elementary School (District 6), Pine Street Elementary School (District 7), Inman Elementary and Intermediate Schools (District 1). If your school needs assistance applying for a SR2S grant, contact Laura Ringo: LRingo@active-living.org.
Safe Routes National Course The SR2S National Course is designed to help communities create sound programs that are based on community conditions, best practices and responsible use of resources.
Developed by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center with funding from the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Course combines safety, health and transportation issues.
Audience includes transportation engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, school administrators, parents, public health officials, local advocates and community leaders
Core content is intermingled with opportunities for discussion, observation and identification of local problems and solutions
Participants create short- and long-term plans of action for their communities
One-day course format
Certified instructors bring expertise and experience