safe routes logoSafe Routes to Schools

E-Newsletter       May 2017

In This Issue
For the Joy of it! B2SD
SMART Train safety
Safe Crossings in Corte Madera
Green Sneaker Winners
New Coordinator for Lynwood
Is Biking the Best Medicine?
Free Bike Racks     
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Huge Turnout
Bike to School

National Bike to School Day
For the Joy of it!
Marin County's Safe Routes to Schools program celebrated the 5th anniversary of National Bike to School Day at 40 K-12 schools on Wednesday morning, May 10th. 

With recent climate and science-related marches, one might surmise that families were pedaling away the carbon and pollution to address climate change and children's health. But, the real reason children ride is simple - it's fun!   Yes, Bike to School Day was an opportunity to lighten our load and reduce our footprint. Yet it was so much more; it gave families a chance to shed away stress, to play while traveling to school through the simple joy of riding a bike.
Bike to School Day is a chance for fair weather riders to gear up for cycling with experienced friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters. A bike train and a ride marked with celebratory fun can set in motion a healthy habit for life. As proof, one parent reported her first grader asked to ride again with her Dad the very next day.
The long term goal of Safe Routes to Schools is to switch students from going to school by car to an active mode of transportation which wakes up the brain for learning and contributes to an active lifestyle long-term.

The SMART Train is Coming --
Officials Urge Caution to High School Students
Gwen Froh_ Maika Gulati _ Kate Colin and John Gamblin
San Rafael and Novato parents and school board and city council members took to the streets Friday, May 12th to warn students to be alert on the first day of the new quiet zone for SMART trains.

San Rafael Councilwoman Kate Colin organized the group of nine adults to distribute fliers near train crossings in downtown San Rafael to students on their way home from San Rafael High School.

She was joined by Greg Knell, a member of the San Rafael Board of Education. "We're leafleting the kids," said Knell, as he took a stack of flyers. "None of them have grown up around trains.  "We're very concerned because kids tend to be plugged in and staring at their phones," he added. "The last thing we need is for someone to step on the tracks (at the wrong time)."
Besides Knell and Colin, others assisting included Novato 

City Councilmembers Pat Eklund and Pam Drew, San Rafael Councilman John Gamblin, San Rafael School Board member Maika Gulati, Joe Stewart and Gwen Froh from Safe Routes to Schools and Christina Perrino, communications director for San Rafael City Schools.

Safer Crossings in Corte Madera
Tamalpais Drive from Madera Boulevard to Redwood Avenue is a main thoroughfare in Corte Madera. Many children walk and bike to school along and across the artery. Residents pick up the bus at one of several stops along the corridor. Any many folks walk and bike to the parks and restaurants, or for commute, recreation, and fitness purposes. When Corte Madera received a Safe Pathways grant from the Transportation Authority of Marin it was initially for improved crosswalks. But the Town decided to undertake more comprehensive approach to street safety.
The Tamalpais Drive Complete Streets Project will construct improvements to benefit all users, including mobility-impaired persons, along the corridor of Tamalpais Drive from Madera Boulevard to Redwood Avenue and continuing to Corte Madera Avenue. The construction improvements include of the addition of rapid flashing beacons at three crosswalks, installation of curb bulb outs, additional striping and signage, crosswalk restriping, upgraded handicap ramps, narrowed travel lanes, bicycle lanes, narrowed parking lanes including striping of parking spots, additional red curb, and slurry sealing and restriping of the entire Tamalpais Drive and Redwood Avenue project corridor.
The project is planned to be completed by July 1, 2017, in time for the popular July 4 parade.

Boys Ruled During the Green Sneaker Challenge

Andres Guzman and Jonathan Garcia get their scooters and helmets
Four boys won the Green Sneaker Challenge's grand prizes through the Safe Routes to Schools bilingual program.
At Bahia Vista, Misael Cárdenas (third grade) and Bradley Díaz (second grade), were very excited to receive their Razor scooters and helmets. Misael Cardena's mom, Catalina Montes, encouraged the other kids who did not win to keep up walking in the group to school every day.   

At Lynwood, two boys, Andrés Guzmán (second grade) and Jonathan García (fifth grade), were picked to win the scooters. Andrés, who had recent elbow surgery, can't wait to get better and be able to ride his scooter around his neighborhood. He is the son of Safe Routes parent volunteer Carmen Guzmán.

New Coordinator for Lynwood from Health and Human Services

Evelyn Colindres, a 15-year-veteran from the Marin Health and Human Services, took the reins of the Safe Routes to School program at Lynwood Elementary in Novato starting at the end of April. Evelyn is replacing Narli Arango, who helped with the bilingual program during the last year, first at Bahia Vista Elementary and later at Lynwood. Evelyn, a mother of two from Honduras, finished out the Green Sneaker Challenge including the drawing, consisting of two Razor scooters and their helmets, in May.
"I love seeing the children walking in the morning, approaching our table with excitement and a smile on their faces. The drawing is a great way to motivate them," said Evelyn.

Is Biking the Best Medicine?    
It has been said before that if exercise were a pill then it would be the most widely prescribed and beneficial drug in our nation. Recent research in the United Kingdom found massive health benefits from biking to work and hints at why active transportation is such a successful form of exercise for all ages. 
A study of 250,000 people revealed that regular cycling reduced death from any cause by 41%, heart disease by 46% and rates of cancer by 45%. We know that exercise is fantastic for our health, but why are most kids in America failing to get the recommended 60 minutes a day? As Dr. Jason Gill from the University of Glasgow stated, "You need to get to work or school every day so if you built cycling into the day it essentially takes willpower out of the equation."  We believe that when you build exercise into your daily commute, whether to work or school, it leads to a lifetime of regular exercise.
While many kids participate in regularly scheduled exercise through sports, research has also shown the more exercise the better. The kids who play sports will still benefit from additional walking, scooting or biking. We hope you join us in prescribing a healthy dose of active transportation as the best preventative medicine for our community and families.
For more information on Health Benefits of Biking