safe routes logoSafe Routes to Schools

E-Newsletter       Nov/Dec 2015
 

In This Issue
Winter Blog on Safe Driving
Dough-Not Drive
Mill Valley School Traffic
Let There be Light - lights for winter
National Reports
Free Bike Racks     
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Drive Alert

Save Lives

Parent/Teen

Safe Driving

Workshop

Dec 1  6 pm

Drake High

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Safety Messages Taught in 
Safe Routes Classrooms
by James Sievert, Safe Routes Instructor
 
Here at Safe Routes to Schools, we hear the collective experience of families walking and biking throughout the County.
From crosswalks in Sausalito to bike routes in Novato, addressing the issues in your community is central to our effort. We hear the stories and share the successes and failures as our own.
 
Two recent incidents illustrate how responsible drivers make or break our safe streets.  Read More

Students going for the Dough! 

Our "Dough-Not Drive!" events at Sinaloa Middle School, Drake High School, and Terra Linda High School sure got students to walk and bike to school. Yummy, chocolate covered donuts WILL entice a teenager to participate. 
 
Sinaloa students used the nearby mall as a remote drop off for parent drivers. Students wearing cardboard donuts, and polar bear costumes had a fun 10 minute walk to campus. There was less traffic around campus, less pollution, and happy students!
 
Drake and Terra Linda High School students perked up upon arrival to find the warm tasty treats.  As a rare event, the Do-nut Drive brought a unique joy to the early morning arrival to school.  The welcome tables were swarmed with students, giving the transportation leaders the opportunity to thank participants for "going green" to school.  In that moment, a connection was made - one that associated walking and biking with a small, happy, social celebration with peers.
 
Students from all three schools understand the importance of taking environmental leadership. High School students seem to want to use their "new-found driving privileges" as much as possible. The Green Routes club wants students to learn that riding a bike or walking may be faster and it surely is better for our environment.
 
Many thanks to Johnny Doughnuts in San Rafael, Safeway in San Anselmo and Great Donuts in Novato for providing the incentives.

Mill Valley School Traffic Analysis

A Mill Valley Traffic Advisory Task Force recently formed to identify measures to decrease vehicular congestion along Mill Valley's main corridors, and they examined how many school-related trips were driving through the East Blithedale Avenue/SR-131 interchange in the morning.

The task force completed this analysis by first mapping anonymous student addresses for each of the five public elementary schools, the middle school and the high school. The student origins were separated by west and east sides of Highway 101, and these student origins were converted to potential vehicle trips by applying carpool and return trip factors.

Because of the origins and destinations of the school-trips, upwards of 900 total public school-related vehicle trips could be crossing the interchange each school morning. This equates to about 25% of the weekday morning peak hour volumes on the congested East Blithedale Avenue corridor. The task force is exploring means to reduce traffic congestion, such as potential school bus operations and identifying multimodal improvements to the interchange and Strawberry overcrossing, which currently have non-standard designs and barriers to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Let There Be Light
                           
As the winter days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky, adding lights to your child's bike and backpack can help to increase their visibility.  If riding a bike from dusk to dawn, a front white light and blinking red light in the back are mandatory by law.  These are additional suggestions, practical and fun, for you to consider.  Some of theses make great stocking stuffers as well.
  1. A San Francisco based company has designed Halo Belt, a versatile and reflective strip of LED lights that can be worn as a belt or secured to backpacks. ($24-$40)
  2. A rechargeable tail-light that can be easily attached to bikes and backpacks is Xtreme Bright X-96 USB Rechargeable Tail Light (estimated cost $22)
  3. For bikes, an inexpensive, yet bright, blinking red LED light with batteries is Keway T10Bike Bicycle Light Rear Light ($9.99)
  4. Apace Vision sells versatile clip-on red, blinking lights for backpacks.  They come with Velcro straps so you can attach the lights to bikes or even your dog (Amazon sells these for $20). apace Vision has Reflective Ankle Bands which are great to wear on wrists or ankles when walking or biking (Amazon at $13.99)
  5. Our "prize winner" for most innovative is Wheel Brightz which lights up wheels of a bike.  Your child may become a new trend setter with this creative display of lights.  Additional front and read lights are still needed if riding at night ($14.99)
National Reports Highlights SRTS Successes
A new report 
released by the National Center for Safe Routes to School examines the accomplishments of the Federal Safe Routes to School Program over the past decade.

Since the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program was established by Congress in 2005, nearly 18,000 schools teaching kindergarten through eighth grades in all fifty states and the District of Columbia have been a part of SRTS. The program has reached more than 6.8 million students nationwide, with underserved schools well represented, and has demonstrated safe transportation and health benefits of active travel for these students.

This report highlights the program's rich data and features stories of SRTS funded projects that show the accomplishments and change the program has had on communities nationwide
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Walk to School Day
The numbers are in, and this year's Walk to School Day was one of the most successful yet. We're excited to share some of the highlights that parents and Walk to School Day organizers shared with us from around the country. From Minnesota to Missouri, California to Washington, check out some of the highlights  from this year's event.