safe routes logoSafe Routes to Schools

E-Newsletter       November 2016

In This Issue
SR2S Evaluation Report
Iwalk Wrapup
Venetia Valley Walking School Bus
Still Cool in Middle School
New Hopscotch Challenge
Tool Box
November Blog: Roundabouts
Free Bike Racks     
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Marin SR2S Program Releases Latest Evaluation Report

Green and Active Trips Increasing

Marin Safe Routes to Schools has just published a comprehensive evaluation of its program that covers the last eight years. This in-depth analysis not only tracks Countywide improvements but explores each school's achievements and what factors spell success.
Overall, since 2008, schools have added over 4,600 green trips, including almost 2,800 active trips. Active trips consist of walking and bicycling trips and any trip that is done on the student's own power. Green trips also include bus and carpool trips. "Moreover", says the report, "schools with the best results often have the most involvement from the whole school community, including faculty, staff, and student participation in contests and vigorous promotion. The schools that had high participation points had an average 11 and 14 percent increase in green and active trips, respectively."
One of the many positive side effects of Marin's Safe Routes to School program is the resulting reduction in vehicle trips when children walk, bicycle, use a carpool, or take a bus to school. Since implementation of the SR2S program, traffic in the vicinity of most participating schools has decreased from between 5 and 20 percent. This has also reduced the amount of harmful pollution emitted near schools.
The report documents new programs and their effectiveness, provides case studies, interviews community members directly involved with the program and recommends improvements and new programs for the future.

View the report at the TAM website
iWalk for Community
The largest community event of the year, International Walk to School Day on October 5th, brought thousands of Marin students and families together in a show of comradery
 for healthy youth and the planet they will inherit. The 20th anniversary of International Walk to School Day, iWalk, was celebrated in Marin thanks to the extensive volunteer effort of our parents, teachers and students from fifty K-12 schools.

The joyous spirit of friendship was evident everywhere. Walking School Buses, Bike Trains, and Fire Truck led parades of happy, active children filled Marin streets. "We should do this every day!" exclaimed Landon Schopp, 8th grade student from White Hill Middle School.

Kids crave this event. It's a thrilling experience of bringing families together for common good. The Safe Routes program goal is to create healthy, safe communities where friendships, social interactions, and a sense of belonging help to off-set the complexities presented in today's world. The simple pleasure of walking and biking together allows families to connect while enjoying healthy activities. It's good for the mind, body and compassionate character of kids and parents.

Marin's community of walkers and rollers continues to grow. Throngs of families are still carving out a bit more time to continue the wholesome habit throughout the year. Together Safe Routes participants are reducing traffic congestion and fostering healthy habits that cultivate a thriving community.

New Walking School Bus Launches at Venetia Valley

The Venetia Valley community said it loud and clear: They are tired of being stuck in traffic in and around this K-8 school in North San Rafael. In order to reduce the number of cars, a group of parents, organized by the school's Family Center started an official Walking School Bus on October 13.

A remote drop off location was established at the Jury Duty Parking Lot by the Marin County Civic Center with two Walking School Buses led by parent volunteers taking the children to school. The first one departed with 30 middle schoolers, sporting a long cardboard bus they made themselves. The second bus left the parking lot a few minutes later with 10 elementary school children who were proudly carrying a smaller cardboard bus, also created by the middle schoolers. "That made up for 40 vehicles we got off campus that day," said Monica Leifer, Safe Routes to Schools' Bilingual Coordinator.

Principal Juan Rodriguez is very pleased with the accomplishment and said that the Walking School Bus not only removes cars from around the school, the event strengthens the sense of community among participating families. Rodriguez is hoping that the size of the "bus" will increase over time.

The next Walking School Bus will be on November 1st, but many parents would like to make this a weekly event. That would be a goal that certainly will bring the community together.

Still "Cool" In Middle School

We're talking about Scooters - those two-wheeled, easily folded and carried modes of transportation. Scooters range in price from $30 off the shelf to $500 if you custom build them. Marin County 6th-8th graders think they are... as they say, "sick".
Scooters are so desirable that more students were willing to walk/bike/skate or scoot to school every Wednesday in October to enter a raffle to win one.

Since the start of the Safe Routes to Schools program, the nine public middle schools in Marin have shown an average of 12% increase in active transportation (range of increase 1%-32%). Four of our middle schools have over 40% of their student body using active modes of transportation - walking, biking, scooting, or skateboarding to school! Mill Valley Middle has over 50%. This is attributed to SR2S's bicycle training classes held during P.E. early morning encouragement events and the on-going infrastructure improvements making safer ways to school. If you have a middle-schooler, please encourage them to get some exercise on their way to school.

New Hopscotch Challenge gets kids walking and rolling
Fifteeen elementary schools are participating in a six-week new green travel contest called The Hopscotch Challenge. Colorful Hopscotch Challengecards were clipped to student backpacks on September 28 and stamped once a week at a morning welcome table staffed by volunteer parents. The goal is for students to collect six stamps in order to qualify for a raffle drawing for a new green scooter. The last day of the challenge is November 2nd when a raffle prize winner will be announced. The backpack cards serve as a badge of honor and a way to boost green travel school pride at elementary schools. Additionally, the backpack cards serve as "on and off-campus"powerful marketing tool to remind students to travel by foot, bike, scooter, carpool and bus as often as possible this fall.

The Safe Routes Tool Box 
Bicycle lanes designate an exclusive space for cyclists through the use of pavement markings and signage
Biking to school is a right of passage for children. Biking to school requires more skills than walking and parents want to make sure their children have a safe place to bike while they are still inexperienced. Safe Routes has a number of tools to make this possible. A bike path that separates children from traffic is the most highly desirable solution. But this isn't always available.
School bike routes provide children guidance for the recommended route to and from school, while increasing motorist awareness of the presence of children
The next best tool is the bike lane which creates a pathway alongside cars exclusively for bikes. The new tool, developed by Marin Safe Routes to Schools is the School Bike Route. This provides signing and striping through neighborhoods to identify the best route for children to take and also alerts drivers that children will be present during school commute hours.turning vehicles.
November Blog:
Students Learn About Roundabouts

roundabout on MV bike path


Can you name all the roundabouts in Marin? Do you know where the newest one is being built?
It might be surprising to many people that our curriculum includes instruction and practice with roundabouts as the underestimated circular intersection is rarely seen in this neck of the woods. Advocates for safer streets have long touted their benefits and we hope our kids will soon be navigating more circles with triangular signs instead of squares with octagon signage. READ MORE