safe routes logoSafe Routes to Schools

E-Newsletter       February 2017
 

In This Issue
Tracking Young Green Trippers
Rain or Shine Perseverance
New Task Forces
Cocoa for Carpools
Tool Box - Route Maps
What Kids Say
Free Bike Racks     
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Physical Activity Makes for Healthy Hearts.
Walk or Bike to School

Tracking Young Green Trippers
(February Blog)
Several elementary schools in Marin County have been making green travel a weekly habit by using Active4.me, a web application that tracks green trips by child, classroom, and school. The tracking system generates real-time statistics including C02reports and miles traveled. Active4.me captures every trip and can instantly notify a parent by text, email or phone that their student has arrived on campus.
 
Volunteer school teams using Active4.me conduct weekly (or monthly) scan days at school entrances. As students arrive on campus, parent volunteers and/or student green teams scan barcodes located on a mini-sneaker that hangs from the child's backpack. A student receives a scan if they arrive to school by foot, bike, scooter, skateboard, carpool or bus. Active4.me reports can provide students with immediate feedback on their green trip totals. (read more)


Rain or Shine Perseverance
Carmen, Andrea and Maria Guzman
Since the start of the Safe Routes to Schools program at Lynwood Elementary in Novato, back in the fall of 2015, three steady and loyal volunteers have been there to support it, rain or shine. They are sisters Carmen and Maria Guzman, and Carmen's eight-year-old, Andres. For Carmen and Maria, who are originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, the safety of the students is their real motivation to volunteer with SR2S. "It's very important to teach children how to walk safely to school," says Carmen. She notices that after walking, kids look happier to go to class.
 
The family of three lives in Vallejo and drive to Lynwood for almost one hour, but still wants to be an active part of the Safe Routes to Schools program. "We park three or four blocks away and then walk," says Carmen, who emphasizes she thinks that exercise is beneficial for her son because it makes him more alert before class. Arriving half hour before school starts, the trio helps Safe Routes to School's bilingual coordinator, Monica Leifer, set up the welcome table to greet children who took a green way to school that morning. Sometimes, Andres, a second grader, even chases down the walkers to make sure they receive an incentive.
New Task Forces Convening in February
cove meeting
Two new Safe Routes to Schools Task Forces are launching in February:  in Larkspur/Corte Madera and in San Rafael. The latter will combine the schools of both the San Rafael and Dixie School Districts. Safe Routes to Schools Task Forces which have been operating successfully in Mill Valley, Kentfield,
 
Tiburon/Belvedere, Ross Valley, and Novato for many years. The meetings are an opportunity for the volunteer parents and students in the schools to share their accomplishments and safety concerns with city and district staff and elected officials. Together they work out project priorities and, with the help of the Safe Routes engineering teams, come up with potential solutions and then seek out funding opportunities. Through these efforts, 140 projects totally over $27 million have been constructed or are in design. This encourages more participation from the parents and students and increases the number of students walking and biking to school.
 
Previously Larkspur held its own Safe Routes working group and Safe Routes worked closely with Corte Madera officials in the opening of the Cove School. In San Rafael we have been working with individual schools. We look forward to the launch of these new coordinated efforts within these communities.
Cocoa For Carpools

21% of the students  carpool at San Jose Middle School
We know it's not always possible to walk or bike to school, that's why we've been promoting Carpooling during these rainy months. Of the 7,000 Marin County Middle School students, about 11% (770) of them carpool to school, many more travel in single family vehicles. Some people say they don't carpool because it's too hard to organize or their schedules are different. Some students don't want to drive to school with another student unless they are good friends.
 
Safe Routes encourages parents to try to overcome some of these hurdles because there are many benefits to carpooling. Students who carpool develop lasting friendships and their parents save time and money. The community benefits from carpooling with a reduction in traffic and pollution. Look out for a Cocoa for Carpools event at your middle school and reach out to a neighbor to participate!

Tool Box - Suggested Route to School Maps

TAM's Safe Routes to School program works with several schools each year to develop school route maps.  These maps can inform students and families about walking and bicycling routes to school and can also identify areas that may need to be addressed for potential implementation of measures such as curb ramps, improved crosswalks, sidewalk gap closures, and bicycle lanes.
 
For a list of current school route maps, please see www.SchoolPoolMarin.org .  If you would like to see a school route map developed for your school, please contact wendi
What Kids Say - Safe Routes Education Program
Safe Routes to Schools reaches thousands of children every year with a message of health and safety. While promoting walking and biking to school has always been our core purpose, the message of personal health, environmental health and safety reaches far beyond trips to school.
 
We start each class by asking students to name anything that is good about using their feet to move around.
 
Kids say: "Your muscles get stronger," "you get to use your energy" and "exercise!"
 
We say: Exercise keeps the whole body healthy, including the brain! People who exercise regularly tend to live longer and healthier lives!
 
Kids say: "It doesn't burn gas," "helps with Global Warming/CO2" and "it's good for the planet!"
 
We say: Burning stuff makes smoke, smoke is not healthy to breathe and not good for the planet. The top cause of pollution in our cities is from burning gas. People who breathe cleaner air tend to live longer and healthier lives.
 
Kids say: "Fun!"
 
We say: Fun! Using your feet also avoids and reduces traffic jams. If you drive from far away, you might be able to walk or bike part of the trip. Lastly, using a bus or carpool is another way to help reduce traffic and pollution.