SR2S Newsletter Spring 2023

SR2S Newsletter Spring 2023

May 3 will be a big day for Safe Routes to Schools and its thousands of constituents all over Marin County. This day marks a celebration of biking, with the National Bike to School Day, and the final date for the J.E.D.I. Challenge. The contest has been carried out at 35 elementary schools during the Spring semester.

Safe Routes is expecting a great level of enthusiasm for this day. Participants in the National Bike to School Day will secure a final stamp for the raffle of a brand-new bike donated by Cleary Bikes and an adjustable helmet donated by Mike’s Bikes. Students’ J.E.D.I. cards will be collected on the spot by dozens of volunteers, who will perform the drawing for one bike and helmet per school site. The winners will be able to order a bicycle of their choice, and Mikes Bikes mechanics will then assemble the bikes and adjust them to each student at their facility in early June.

It is not only the bikers who will receive a prize or get their cards stamped on May 3. To make the event all inclusive, students who walk, scoot, park and walk, or ride the bus can come get a prize at the welcome table before school starts. Jambar is once again donating 3,000 bars, which will be given to middle and high school participants.

Mark your calendars – National Bike to School Day will be celebrated at over 50 K-12th grade schools on May 3.

Marin County Teens have great concern for the environment, particularly global warming.

This concern is translating into action: this Spring, 43 percent of middle schoolers opted for a active way to school (61% green trips). That means that they either walked, rode a bike, scooted, skateboarded, took the bus, or carpooled. That number is a stark contrast to the only 15 percent of students nationwide who walk or roll on their way to class, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lou Goodwin, Safe Routes’ Teen Program Coordinator, says that a very effective way to engage the students is through their teachers. In Kent, it is a math teacher, and in Miller Creek it is the science teacher. “I mostly work with schools that have educators who volunteer to recruit students interested in green transportation. They are already biking, walking to school and care about the environment.”

The Teen program tends to the particular needs of every school, so nothing is set in stone. An excellent example of how the program flows in some middle schools happened recently in Ross. Here a group of teens, recruited by the leadership teacher, is running the five events of the JEDI Challenge all on their own. This group feels compelled to teach the younger students about the benefits of green or active travel to school.

At both Kent and Miller Creek schools, over 300 children flooded their respective campuses this Spring to enjoy a morning fruit smoothie pedaled by students on a bike with a blender. These two events, organized by Safe Routes and student helpers, are a sample of the growing interest in fun activities that are good for the planet.

Safe Routes is currently serving nine Marin County public middle schools, where 6,387 students receive the benefits of the Teen Program through encouragement to choose active travel over the family car or receive pedestrian and biking safety classes.

After a year hiatus, Marin Health and Human Services (HHS) is partnering once more with Safe Routes to Schools in 2023 to cover some of the expenses of its bilingual program. A $10,000 grant was awarded to be used between January and September 2023.

The grant is already supporting activities at ten elementary and K-8 schools in Marin County where more than half of the students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The purpose of HHS is to help instill healthy and active habits among underserved communities, with active travel to school falling into the category of “active living.” In exchange, Safe Routes is aiding HHS in promoting its campaign Rethink your Drink, which highlights the importance of drinking water among children.

The schools covered by the grant are BaySide MLK Academy, Bahia Vista, Laurel Dell, Coleman, Venetia Valley, West Marin-Inverness, Lynwood, Lu Sutton, and Hamilton.

With the money awarded, Safe Routes is paying for tabling incentives, printed publicity, monthly prizes, and grand prizes that will be raffled off at the end of the current contest, the JEDI Challenge. The funds will also provide a comfortable start for the Fall 2023 semester, when Safe Routes will launch a set of completely new activities to promote active travel to school.

Safe Routes to Schools sends a big thank you to HHS for its generosity.

The Spring semester marked the reintroduction of two schools from West Marin to the Safe Routes program: West Marin-Inverness, a K-8, and Bolinas-Stinson Elementary.

West Marin-Inverness School, located in Point Reyes Station and Inverness, was initially contacted by Safe Routes’ Bilingual Coordinator Monica Leifer to join the encouragement program. Their family advocate, Glenda Mejia, and their Principal, Beth Nolan, jumped quickly at the opportunity to do all five events of “The Return of the JEDI Challenge.” With two campuses to handle, Glenda had to manage her logistics by recruiting parent volunteers, a custodian and even the office secretary from the West Marin campus to host the events. Glenda also stamped the JEDI cards of many excited students who came to the first Safe Routes to Schools’ welcome table in about eight years.

“The contest was announced to the students the Monday before the event during a school assembly. They were very impatient, constantly asking me when they were going to get their JEDI cards. I think it’s something new and exciting to do after all the turmoil caused by the pandemic,” said Glenda. “When Wednesday came, the participants waited in line to receive their cards and incentives.”

At Bolinas Elementary School, the schools’ return came as per Principal Michelle Stephens’ initiative. She showed interest during a task force meeting and immediately contacted Safe Routes’ volunteer coordinator, Cooper Miley, to see how they could join. They hosted their first event on March 22.

Both West Marin-Inverness and Bolinas-Stinson schools are now part of the encouragement program, participate in the SR2S Task Force Meetings, and are receiving their bike and pedestrian safety classes.

Safe Routes’ small but mighty team of seven has been hard at work, teaching 270 pedestrian and bike safety classes to 8,000 students so far this year. The requests for more classes keep coming in, and five new schools (Novato High School, San Marin High School, Venetia Valley School, Hamilton School, and Davidson Middle School) have been added to the list of 40+ schools receiving education classes.

The safety classes, offered for free to schools, are normally taught during the regular day schedule. Very often, it is during PE class when the students congregate to either hear about the rules of the road, learn safety tips, go for a walk around the block, or have a bike rodeo. For the bike classes, Safe Routes provides the necessary bikes and helmets for students who do not have their own.

During this school year, Safe Routes’ instructors incorporated new classes into the existing curriculum. Classes are age appropriate and experiential, focusing on pedestrian, bike, and traffic safety for students in 2nd-6th and 9th grades. All classes meet California state curriculum standards.

A new class, “Share the Road,” has been taught to all 9th grade students at San Marin and Novato High Schools. During the class, students learned the rules of the road and how to prevent crashes from a walking, driving, and biking perspective. Other topics covered included being aware of car doors, cycling hand signals, and the dangers of teen driving. At the end of the presentation, students could also sign up for other Safe Routes activities such as a bike ride to practice the skills learned during the class.

Additionally, Safe Routes implemented a “Learn to Ride” class this Spring, which is offered to elementary school students at school bike rodeos. Though learning to ride a bike is often taught informally during bike rodeos, Safe Routes felt it was important to formalize this class into its curriculum to increase access and equity for children who may not have a bike at home. In the class, students are taught how to balance, pedal, and steer a bike. With the help of our instructors, children are often riding by the end of the session.

“Learn to Ride” is available upon request and is currently in place at schools with larger populations of historically underserved students.

Safe Routes to Schools’ Bike Hero Award is open for nominations now until May 31. This is the fifth year in a row that the contest is offered at all elementary and middle schools in Marin County.

The growth in the contest’s popularity shows easily: from 2021 to 2022, the nominations grew by 234 percent. Put in raw numbers, 64 applications from 11 schools were received in 2021, while last year the number increased to 150 nominations from 19 schools.

“We are eager to promote the Bike Hero contest as an opportunity to advance more riding and good citizenship,” said Gwen Froh, Safe Routes to Schools Program Director.

Anyone can nominate a student for the Bike Hero Award. That means that a teacher, parent, school administrator, grandparent, or caregiver can write a short description about why a child who rides to school very often, while respecting the rules of the road, is a good “ROLL” model to their peers. There will be four winners who each will receive recognition and a $50 gift certificate from the store of their choice.

The 2022 winners shone by their grit, determination, and resiliency to overcome barriers such as inclement weather and long distances to school. Their joy of cycling was palpable. Their kindness to assist others, unmeasurable. All the nominees were superheroes for treating themselves, others, and the planet with respect, kindness and a love for life that is felt by riding a bike.

The 2022 winners are:

Zainy Vargas – TK, Venetia Valley Elementary
Zainy (age 5) bikes to and from school almost every day – she wears her helmet and a smile and always adheres to the rules of the road! She and her brother are shining examples.

Patrick Wagner – Grade 3, Bacich Elementary
Patrick Wagner bikes each day to school and committed to biking with his buds and to being the best younger brother. Patrick is kind to pedestrians, bikes safely, and follows the rules.

Callie Egan – Grade 5, A.E. Kent Middle School
Callie bikes to and from school every day. She often goes with a group of friends.

Nino DeFrenza, grade – 7, Miller Creek Middle
While most 13-year-olds are asleep in bed, Adriano wakes up early to bike to school. He lives a good 10 minutes away from his school by car, across the freeway and along a main road. At his young age, he’s learned to obey the rules of the road, have valuable quick-thinking skills, and build confidence when riding alone.

With forty-six percent of the Ross School students walking or biking to school, Safe Routes to Schools decided to give this school its first route map. For that reason, 15 students from 6th to 8th grade who belong to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging (DEIB) Club, were recruited to be part of the process.

With large scale maps provided by the Transportation Authority of Marin, the students in the club gave up their lunchtime to discuss with Safe Routes staff their walking and biking routes to school. They pointed out challenging intersections, streets lacking sidewalks, and even hidden hillside trails to use.

The information the teens provide, along with some parent input, will go to the transportation engineers who can discuss whether or not infrastructure changes can be made to increase safety. Sometimes these changes are something small like signage. Other times, they may require a longer process, such as the need for a new sidewalk. At the end of this process Safe Routes will have a working Suggested Routes Map that can be used by Ross students in the years to come.

See if your school has a Suggested Routes Map HERE.

During the volunteer luncheon in January, Carrie Wurlitzer, a parent volunteer from Vallecito Elementary, told the other attendants that, for a while now, she has been getting her school to give away “Golden Eagle Tickets” as a prize for the students that walk and roll to school. This means that the school is contributing incentives that are normally distributed at the Safe Routes welcome table.

The eagle is Vallecito’s mascot, hence the name of the ticket. Carrie explains how it works: “Eagle tickets are filled out by the students, turned into the office and once per month, at an assembly, the principal draws names. Winners get an extra Friday recess with the principal and get to choose a friend to come along. As you can imagine, Eagle tickets are coveted!”

That motivated Carrie to turn Eagle Tickets into a Walk and Roll prize. “By using an already existing process, it is less work on the volunteers and is already a known process for the students. WIN WIN!!”

Venetia Valley parent volunteer Heather Crossen, who was present at the luncheon, thought this would be a great idea for her school as well. They have “Falcon Cards,” which also make reference to the school’s mascot. Here, students from K-8 can use their ticket to purchase a snack from the school store, which are about $1 each. The school donated 290 “Falcon Cards” for the March 15 event and publicized the prize in their weekly breakdown.

“Using the Falcon Cards is quick and easy. When the announcement came out, I think it motivated more kids to participate. It looks to me like it increased participation that morning,” said Heather.

Contributions like these help increase the level of excitement among students and frees some of the non-profit resources to invest in different programs.

Free bike repairs, a bike rodeo to learn rules of the road, and a bike blender to make smoothies are just some of the activities that will be included in the second annual Bridge the Bay event, sponsored by Safe Routes to Schools. The event, a celebration of the joy of biking, will be held at Pickleweed Park in the Canal area of San Rafael on May 20 from 12 – 4 p.m.

Experienced mechanics from the Bay Area Bike Mobile and 10 interns from San Rafael will be on hand to fix bicycles. Last year, over 60 bikes were repaired, giving them a new life and creating more opportunities for children to spend time outdoors.

This free and open-to-the-public event will culminate with a parade along the Bay Trail to the Richmond-San Rafael bridge and back. Parents/caregivers and children of all ages are welcomed to join.

High school students wishing to spend an afternoon outdoors in service to their community are invited to contact Cooper Miley at [email protected] for more information.

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023

SR2S Newsletter Winter 2023

Safe Routes will announce the deployment of its encouragement program for the second half of the school year during a volunteer luncheon on January 19 at the Transportation Authority of Marin in San Rafael. Dedicated school and parent volunteers will host welcome tables to greet walkers and rollers, run contests, and provide other actions such as all school assemblies to encourage families to choose a green way to school.  New and exciting this year, elementary students will have a chance to win a Cleary Bike for participating in the J.E.D.I Challenge.

Safe Routes to Schools has set the suggested dates for the elementary schools’ encouragement events. Depending on individual school schedules, the dates may vary. Middle and high school events are customized per school site.

Calendar of Upcoming School Events – Spring 2023

Walk and Roll Wednesday (elementary schools) – February 1st

J.E.D.I. Challenge to win a Cleary Bike
(elementary schools):
March 1 & 15, April 5 & 19, May 3

Bike to School Day (all K-12th grades):  May 3rd

Bike Hero Award Nominations
(middle and elementary students):
Month of May

Build Habits

In order to make 2023 your Green Commute Year, build habits now so your kids can join all the fun this spring. Walk, Bike, Bus, Carpool, Park and Walk to participate and make 2023 A GREEN COMMUTE YEAR for you and your community.

Walking and rolling to school, especially in brisk and rainy weather, helps to wake up sleepy-heads and allows kids to get their ya-yas out for a day of better learning. Walking and biking to school allows children to interact with their peers and build relationships, which can have a positive impact on their social development. This can also help children to feel more connected to their school and community, which can improve their overall well-being.

Pro Tips To Get Started

Start small and develop a consistent routine. Pick one day per week and set alarms 15 minutes early to begin. Routine builds healthy habits, but most importantly, you will develop memories to cherish for a lifetime. There’s nothing like the simple joy of splashing in puddles or finding treasures enroute to bring smiles to faces. If the full commute from home is inconvenient or the traffic is hectic, drive partway, then park and walk from a neighborhood with quiet streets and few intersections.

Inviting others to carpool or park and walk solidifies friendships and may even give parents a much needed break from their hectic, daily commutes as they take turns bringing kids to school. Not surprisingly, parents say that kids get out of bed faster when they can look forward to traveling to school with friends.

A Bay Area native, Katy Vanoni is the new Education Coordinator for Safe Routes to Schools. She is from now on, the contact person for all schools interested in scheduling pedestrian and bike safety classes for students throughout Marin. Katy replaces Peggy Clark, who was with Safe Routes for the last 15 years.

Before starting with her new job last September, Katy was an elementary school teacher in Marin County and the East Bay. Katy believes that by learning cycling early, children will have the skills and enthusiasm to ride for the rest of their lives.

Katy will be scheduling Safe Routes’ indoor and outdoor safety education courses provided to 10,000 students from 2nd to 12th grade at 50 Marin schools annually. Her focus will be on fostering connections with teachers to bring the Safe Routes team, bikes, and courses for students to hone their pedestrian and biking skills, while following the rules of the road.

Leading up to teaching in the Bay Area, Katy worked in various roles, including as an Art and Sports volunteer teacher to children in Belize. She loves cycling challenges such as sprint triathlons and the Three Bears ride. She obtained her League Certified Instructor certificate in 2011. She lives in San Rafael with her husband and son.

To schedule classes at schools, contact [email protected].

Safe Routes will miss Peggy Clark, who has been with Safe Routes since its early days. We wish her the best in her new endeavor.


Fourteen elementary school students were the happy winners of the new Buddy Up contest conducted by Safe Routes to Schools this fall.

The multitude of entries told the inspiring stories of many buddies, boys and girls from different backgrounds and from all over Marin, who decided to take on the challenge to find friends to walk, bike, bus or carpool to school together. Here are the winners and their heartwarming stories.

Westin & Jase from Olive Elementary School

Westin and Jase have always loved looking for treasures. They enjoy collecting rocks, sticks, and different leaves, among other things like coins, nails, and “dinosaur bones” on their walks. The items that do not end up going through the washing machine have made it into a collection box that they constantly look through and update. Each day they are excited to walk to and from school together when they continue to build their collection.

Erin & Emerson from Reed Elementary School

After a hard first bus ride for Erin on her second day of Kindergarten, her classmate and new friend Emerson offered to ride with her. The next week, they held hands as they boarded the bus (and for the whole way to school), and they haven’t looked back since. They  became fast friends and now love riding the bus together. During the ride, they share letters and drawings they make for each other at home. Recently, they have been asking someone new to sit with them each day. We are so grateful for the bus and for their friendship.

Scottie & Gianna from San Jose Middle School

Scottie and Gianna love to bike to San Jose Middle School together. Recently, Scottie broke her arm, but that did not stop the pair from “getting their steps in” and walking together to and from school. They are each responsible for setting their own alarms, arriving at their meeting spot on time, and messaging their parents once they are off to school. They practice the same routine on their way home.

Aurora, Delaney, Eoldie, Hannah, Kate, Lila, Mackenzie, and Talia from Bacich Elementary School

This group of third graders has been biking to and from school and affectionately been nicknamed “The Peloton” by neighbors who witness their numbers swell as they pick up more and more friends along the way. They are always looking out for each other, on the road and at school. They love being in a large group because it makes it easy to maintain the habit of riding every day, even when one or two people can not make it. There’s always someone (and more often lots of people) to ride with!

In the spirit of friendship, let’s continue to team up to travel together in the upcoming year, fostering healthy habits, community spirit, and fond memories while reducing chaotic traffic and unhealthy pollution. As our fall Buddy Up contest winners demonstrate, it’s well worth the effort.

Twenty fourth graders from Tam Valley Elementary School and their teacher, Ms. Sanchez, were the proud winners of the Pump It Up! contest sponsored and organized by Safe Routes to Schools. The children were awarded a popsicle party and Ms. Sanchez received an Ortleib backpack.  The class was declared the winner after a bike rodeo conducted in October.

The new Pump It Up! Challenge encourages students to put their skills learned during the bike rodeos to use. For a week following the rodeos, teachers ask students how they get to school each day.  The tallies get reported to Safe Routes to Schools and the class with the most walkers and rollers wins a popsicle party and bragging rights.

Check out the Safe Routes classes and see why students are excited when our trailer and Instructors roll onto campus. 

Pictured here is Mr. Sanchez’s class from Tam Valley Elementary – proud winners!

Looming wet weather and cold temperatures did not stop Martin Luther King students in Sausalito from walking and rolling to school on December 1 to celebrate the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.

Ruby Bridges, an African American girl, walked into an all-white school in New Orleans every day amid angry protesters screaming at her and her mother along the way. Ruby’s perseverance was pivotal in the desegregation of classrooms.

In addition to the morning Walk and Roll, six middle school leaders came from the Philip Street campus to the Nevada campus to talk to their elementary school peers about Ruby’s historical contributions. “In tandem with the mission of Safe Routes, we celebrated our students who ride bikes or walk to school and encourage those who don’t to give it a try in the future,” said MLK School’s Community School Director Phillip Logan.

To help celebrate  Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day, Safe Routes held a raffle of ten basketballs among the elementary school students who used their feet to go to school.

The event was co-sponsored by community partners of the Sausalito School District.

Bike Buses are growing in popularity and size. Read about the hundreds of kids who bike together in Barcelona, Spain

And the growing bike bus in Portland

Law offices are looking to promote safety as the Stein Law Offices offers great tips for students walking and biking to school

  • Ross Valley – Friday, Jan 13, 2023 at 10:00 AM
  • Novato – Thursday, Jan 18, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Kentfield – Thursday Jan 19, 2023 at 9:00 AM
  • Reed – Thursday, Jan 25, 2023 at 10 AM
  • West Marin – Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 at 7 pm
  • San Rafael – Thursday, Feb 2, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Sausalito-Marin City – Tuesday Feb 7, 2023 at 5:00 PM
  • Larkspur-Corte Madera – Thursday, Feb 9, 2023 at 3:30 PM
  • Ross – Monday, Feb 13, 2023 at 10 AM
  • Mill Valley – Thursday Feb 16, 2023 at 9:30 AM

Contact Wendi Kallins if you are interested in joining a task force or if you would like a copy of archived task force meeting notes.

Marin Safe Routes kicked off the fall with two new walk audits after having to suspend them during the pandemic. The engineering team worked with residents of Sun Valley Elementary and Strawberry Point to assess the walking and biking conditions for both schools. Elli Abdoli, Mill Valley School District Trustee, and Geoff Rubendall, Sun Valley co-team leader,  did an excellent job of inviting parents, neighbors, and the school principals to participate and of mapping out the route for our walk.

For each school, the audit started during early drop off time to observe some of the conflicts that occur between students and cars.

Sun Valley’s route runs along 5th Avenue in San Rafael, which does not have enough room for bike lanes and has conflicts at each intersection. Many parents park at Andy’s Market on California Street and walk from there,  but there is limited parking and no sidewalks on California Street.

Strawberry is a hilly neighborhood, with no or limited controls at intersections whose steepness makes visibility challenging. It is an older neighborhood that predates the school that has many streets with incomplete or missing sidewalks. Another issue is that  students cross Strawberry Drive as cars are rapidly turning from Tiburon Boulevard.

The good news is that the group observed a number of walking school buses for both schools. Supervised walking groups help to create more visibility and keep the kids safer.

The Safe Routes engineering team works with the local jurisdiction to come up with suggested solutions to these issues. In these cases, it is the County of Marin in Strawberry and the City of San Rafael for Sun Valley. The Safe Routes team will go back for further studies, to make suggestions to the jurisdictions, and, once approved, to bring back concept plans to the task forces. Most of the past recommendations have resulted in completed projects and safer routes to schools for Marin students.

The City of Larkspur constructed several Safe Pathways and Complete Streets projects in 2022 to make it easier and safer for students to walk and roll to school.

Doherty Drive, Magnolia Boulevard, and Bon Air Road in Larkspur received multimodal infrastructure upgrades in 2022, including pedestrian enhancements, bike lane improvements, and traffic calming.

Buffered bike lanes were installed throughout Doherty Drive, a separated bikeway was completed in front of the Redwood High School, and other improvements were made to the Doherty Drive corridor using TAM’s Measure A and AA Safe Pathways to Schools funding. This helps connect several schools, parks, and residences along Doherty Drive to existing multi-use paths and closes crucial gaps in the bike network.

New bike lanes were also added on Magnolia Boulevard and several uncontrolled pedestrian crossings were enhanced with traffic calming features near Marin Primary & Middle School. Bon Air Road saw the completion of the new multimodal bridge and intersection improvements. These improvements will give more students across the city an opportunity to safely walk and bike to school.

Holiday gifts came early to 42 elementary school students in Novato. On November 9, Safe Routes to Schools along with School Board Trustee Diane Gasson and Eric Lucan of Mike’s Bikes coordinated the delivery of adjustable helmets to children who could not afford them. The student recipients were from Lynwood, Lu Sutton, and Loma Verde Elementary Schools.

“This [gift] is of great help to parents who don’t have enough money to buy helmets. For me, as a mother of a student, it is a great relief to think that my kids don’t have to ride their bikes without a helmet,” said Kelly Lopez, who has two children at Lu Sutton.

Staff members from Lu Sutton  were seeing children riding their bikes and scooters daily without the needed head protection. The office expressed concern to Safe Routes, which relayed the issue to Trustee Diane Gasson. Gasson started a GoFundMe campaign among members of the Novato community to help not only Lu Sutton students, but also those from Lynwood and Loma Verde.

Gasson also asked Lucan, who is both the mayor of Novato and chief marketing officer for Mike’s Bikes, if Mike’s Bikes  could pitch in.

“I coordinated with Eric Lucan and he was able to give me a [low] price for the helmets, with the adjusting dial in the back, in the bright colors that we requested. Between the two of us we could get 42 helmets for the kids,” said Gasson.

The story, covered by the Marin Independent Journal, can be found at

The end of November marked the end of another successful Street Smarts rollout. For six weeks, Marin County drivers, walkers, and cyclists were reminded to keep their ‘Eyes Up’ to improve safety for everyone.

The rollout saw the unveiling of bright new banners and signs as part of the campaign’s data-driven refresh. Marin County residents and visitors could spot the messaging on light poles, buildings, buses, and on lawns throughout the county.

Online, people shared safety-related images and used colorful email signatures to show their support and encourage safe behavior. Keep your eyes up for future rollouts in 2023.

Safe Routes to Schools has implemented two new education programs this year promoting transportation mode shifts and increasing safety for Marin County students.

9th Grade Share the Road: San Marin High School, Novato

In early November, Safe Routes Returned to San Marin High School in Novoto to educate 150 ninth grade students. The primary goal of the Share the Road class  is to identify main causes of injury or fatal crashes on roadways and how students can avoid them as pedestrians, cyclists and emerging drivers.

Students remarked what they learned through the class:

  • “Many collisions/ crashes are preventable. Sharing the road and knowing your roles and rules are very important to stay safe.”
  • “[Appropriate] speed is extremely important, do not ever look at your phone when driving, walking, or biking.”

Students were also invited to join Safe Routes’ instructors to practice traffic safety skills on their bikes, and to participate in a contest by submitting a video about how to increase traffic safety among their peers.

This spring, Safe Routes will bring this class to other Marin high schools with the goal of increasing safety education for older students.


E-Bike Education: White Hill Middle School, Fairfax

Electric Bicycles have become popular with many of our middle and high school students. While Safe Routes to Schools celebrates healthier and greener shifts away from car trips, community members have expressed concern about the safety of young, emerging e-bike cyclists. In addition to the “hands on” instruction already provided to all Marin middle school 6th graders, White Hill Middle School requested Safe Routes teach a dedicated class for students who commute via e-bike. In November, 30 sixth to eighth grade students were taught the legal requirements to ride an e-bike, the rules of the road, and the skills necessary to maneuver a heavy and more challenging device. Students and their parents signed a pledge that they would ride safely, obeying traffic laws. Safe Routes Instructors, along with Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s E-Bike Smart Marin program, will develop additional classes in 2023.

SR2S Newsletter – Fall 2022

SR2S Newsletter – Fall 2022

Safe Routes to Schools Has Exciting Activities This Fall

Won’t you join the thousands of families dedicated to healthy and happy active commutes to school?

HEALTH was the primary factor motivating families to walk and roll to school more, according to a spring survey conducted by Safe Routes among a group of 1,200 Marin County parents. Studies show that creating healthy active habits during your child’s  impressionable years will add length to their life, aiding in their circulatory and respiratory systems, cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, diet, body fat, stress-reduction, and self esteem.  

Other studies show added benefits: children who walk and roll to school have higher  academic achievement, better reading fluency, and improved cognitive performance. Stanford researchers  found that walking outdoors also helps generate new, creative ideas. A different US study revealed that those who commute by foot or bike are happier than those who drive.*  

If you live within one to two miles from school, walking and biking are strongly encouraged.  Our recommendation is that you ask your kids to set their alarms 10 minutes earlier to get up and go to school by foot or two wheels. You’ll beat the morning traffic, too.

If you live too far away or have toddlers in tow, please consider parking ¼ mile from your child’s school and walking (Park and Walk) the short distance to school. This will reduce traffic congestion and give safer access for ALL students walking and rolling to school. 

*Resources on academic performance and attendance;  National Safe Routes Partnership

Buddy Up To Travel to School Together

Safe Routes to Schools will roll out a new contest called BUDDY UP! between the end of September and beginning of October to encourage students and their families to walk,Park and Walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus together. The purpose is to have regular walkers and rollers introduce this healthy habit to other students and their families who aren’t yet using active transportation.  

Participating  is easy. Parents can sign up their group of two or more students by filling out this Google Buddy Up Entry Form.

BUDDY UP! offers several benefits:  First, by having families walk or roll together, the recently formed habit will have a better chance of enduring the test of time. Second, there is safety in numbers and groups are more easily seen by drivers. And last but not least,  friendships, fun and memories are formed during the morning active commute to school.

“Walking or biking to school with a friend is a great way to get some extra time with your buddy, and to help each other to be on time. Friends that go to school together look out for each other!” said Joey Shepp, a parent from Manor Elementary School. 

At the end of October, Safe Routes will conduct a county-wide raffle of five $50 gift cards and the winners will be selected based upon their commitment and story of success. 

Fall into a Good Habit: Walk and Roll Wednesdays

Parents spoke and we listened! According to a recent survey, Walk and Roll Wednesdays is the most popular encouragement event held by Safe Routes to Schools. For that reason, this flagship program is coming back this Fall in full force.

Walk and Roll Wednesdays encourages families to walk,Park and Walk, bike, scoot, or skateboard to school at least ONE day EVERY week. To celebrate successful habits, one Walk and Roll Wednesday will be held each month in elementary schools from September to December. The October 12th event will coincide with International Walk to School Day (iWalk), the biggest celebration of active travel featured by Safe Routes every year.

Teachers will display flyers publicizing the events on their bulletin boards, and will remind their students a day before each event. Also,posters will be displayed on campuses with the dates when welcome tables will be out with parent volunteers greeting kids who used an active mode of transportation, took the bus, or carpooled to school. Volunteers will hand out incentives to participating students and will conduct a raffle at the end of every event.

Keep Your Eyes Up and
Be Street Smart!

Traffic Safety Program to Be Rolled Out in October

The Street Smarts traffic safety program is back with a new look! This program is designed to encourage people driving, biking, and walking to use safe behaviors. Keep your eyes open in mid-October, when Street Smarts banners and signs will appear throughout the county reminding people to keep themselves and others safe on the roads.

The program focuses on six key behaviors following a review of countywide collision data and collaboration with a task force consisting of city and school representatives. These highlight key behaviors and encourage safety for all road users:

  • Making safe turns
  • Avoiding distracted driving
  • Using safe speeds
  • Looking for pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Safe walking
  • Bicyclists following the rules of the road

In addition to banners, social media ads and newsletter articles will be distributed by over 100 partner organizations. People are encouraged to get involved by sharing this information with their friends and neighbors. You can also request a lawn sign from your local public works department.

Campaign will last for six weeks and then return in the spring. However, staying safe doesn’t have a time limit. If everyone kept their eyes up and treated others with courtesy, not only would our roads be safer, but traveling on them would be more relaxing and enjoyable.  

Bike Rodeo Contest Created for 4th and 6th Graders

Safe Routes will be piloting a new challenge called PUMP IT UP! The contest  aims to encourage 4th and 6th grade students to practice safety skills learned at their school’s “Bike Rodeo”. Physical Education teachers will have an option to hold the one-week challenge by tallying up the number of students who walk or bike to school.  The P.E. class period with the most walkers and bikers will win a Safe Routes-sponsored party and will receive a congratulatory poster.

Safe Routes to Schools wants to thank all the P.E. teachers who schedule our classes and encourage their students to walk or roll to school.

Art used: Ariah Whipkey

Safe Routes to Schools Welcomes New Lead Instructor

Tyler Randazzo is the new Lead Instructor for Safe Routes to Schools Marin starting in August. He comes to the organization after three years developing and teaching high school bike education programs for underserved students in Richmond, Redwood City, and Daly City. “I am very excited to make the switch and  teach students about the benefits of walking and rolling to school,” said Randazzo. He added that he loves teaching kids about the joys of riding a bike and its unique ability to create community, increase equity, benefit the environment, and promote health and well-being.

Originally from the Boston area, Randazzo  moved out west to study history and education at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he spent time exploring the city by bike and wrenching in the on-campus bike shop. In his free time, Tyler likes to explore new mountain bike trails and go for long walks with his partner and their four-year old dog.

E-bikes are Electrifying the Future! What parents should know…

E-bikes are rapidly increasing in popularity, especially with teens, as they provide increased independence. E-bikes allow students to travel further and faster, allowing steep hills to be easily summited. Heavy school books and sports equipment are now easy to transport. One less vehicle on the road benefits all.

Yet, are students experienced enough to manage the increased speeds and challenging maneuverability of a heavy e-bike?

Parents are advised to do their own research and assess their children’s cycling abilities before purchasing one. Click here to learn the different types of e-bikes and recommendations to help you make an informed decision about purchasing an e-bike or e-scooter for your student.

The average speed of an adult cyclist is 12 miles per hour (mph), and 9.7 mph for 14 year olds. Yet e-bikes allow their riders to travel up to 20 mph (Type I and II) and 28 mph (Type III).  Communities are extremely worried about students e-biking at twice the speed of regular cyclists, many carrying helmet-less passengers, and dodging between and around vehicles, pedestrians and other cyclists.

Safety should never take a back seat to convenience, and manufacturers agree. One popular Type II throttle brand said, “Children under the age of 16 may lack the necessary judgment and skill to safely operate the e-bike.” The company’s website states that children “must be 16 or older” (roughly a junior in high school) to use their throttle bike even though the California law states otherwise for Type I and II. Under California law, Type III e-bikes are illegal for those 16 and under.

Type I, where students have to pedal and work harder to reach 20 mph, might be a more prudent and healthier choice for students than Types II and III. Regardless of which motorized or non-motorized device parents choose for their student, parents are urged to do their own homework, ensuring proper bike fit (size and weight) and their student’s reliability to lawfully ride on roads and pathways. 

When is a bike not a bike? If HEALTH is the number one reason parents want their children biking to school, it begs the question – do Type II and III e-bikes provide a justifiable health benefit when students do not have to pedal them?  Even more concerning, it puts youth at increased risk of crash and severe injury due to two to three times the speed of regular bikes.  For questions regarding education, contact [email protected]



Nevada Street in Sausalito
Will Get a Makeover

Nevada Street, the frontage of the Sausalito Campus of MLK Schools, will receive much-needed improvements. 

Pavement rehabilitation and re-striping will help reduce vehicle speed on Nevada Street and will improve sight distance for pedestrians. The project will also include a striped buffer between existing parallel parking and the travel lane between Bridgeway and Tomales Street

 Work consists of:

  • Asphalt pavement rehabilitation
  • Pavement restoration along Nevada St. from Bridgeway to the Lincoln Dr./Marin Ave. intersection
  • New curb ramps at the Nevada St./ Tomales St. intersection
  • Refreshed and extended no parking zones to improve sight distances near pedestrian crossings on Nevada St. uphill of Buchanan Dr. and west of Bridgeway
  • New striping along Nevada St. to narrow the vehicle lanes and provide a buffer between parked cars and moving vehicles
  • New pavement striping and markings 
  • Updated signage
  • Refreshed existing crosswalks at the intersection of Bridgeway and Nevada St.

The Nevada Street project, along with other improvements on Coloma Street, .were funded through the Transportation Authority of Marin(TAM).


Safety Improvements in the Works for the Butterfield Corridor

The Butterfield Safety Committee, a subcommittee of Butterfield Corridor Safe Streets, has been hard at work identifying the community’s concerns and coming up with improvements. This collaborative group, facilitated by Supervisor Katie Rice’s aide Nancy Vernon,  includes representatives from the Sleepy Hollow Homes Association, the San Anselmo and County of Marin Departments of Public Works, schools, Safe Routes, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and interested residents. Improvements are planned for both the San Anselmo portion as well as the unincorporated portion of Butterfield Road.

The Town of San Anselmo (in partnership with the Safety Committee) has been working on a comprehensive safety campaign on the southern side of Butterfield, including pavement patching in the bike lane, a slurry seal over the whole stretch of Butterfield Road from Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the County Limit, wider bike lanes, additional speed limits signs, and targeted green bike lane markings at intersections. The Town will also install a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) at the crosswalk at Woodside Drive, and a radar speed feedback sign near the fire station. These improvements should help reduce vehicle speeds and increase awareness of bicyclists and pedestrians throughout this busy corridor. Funding for these improvements comes from Local Sales Tax Measure D.

The County of Marin (in partnership with the Safety Committee) has been working on concepts for a crosswalk across Butterfield Road at the intersection of Irving Drive (at the community center) and an extension of the bike lane on Butterfield Road from where it currently ends at the San Anselmo town limit to the intersection with Sleepy Hollow Drive. At this time, the bike lanes will not be extended to the end of Butterfield Road because of concerns about parking during large public events at the Sleepy Hollow Clubhouse and pool.  Both proposed improvements were approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on August 23.

The Butterfield Safety Committee conducted public outreach to gain community feedback to inform these improvements. An online poll was conducted between January 17, 2022, and February 7, 2022, and an online public meeting was held on April 21. Both the survey and community meeting indicated strong support from residents. This shows the positive results when a community decides to collaborate to create improvements in its neighborhood.

To learn more, visit the Butterfield Safe Streets webpage at (under Safety tab).

Crossing Guard of the Year 2021-2022: Carmel Morini, Lu Sutton Elementary

On May 26, after 44 years of service, Carmel Morini was recognized as Crossing Guard of the Year. Ms. Morini has been faithfully helping kids get to school in Novato since 1978. When she became a crossing guard, the program was managed by the Novato Police Department with funding from a variety of sources including cities, towns, and school districts. The passage of Marin’s ½-cent Transportation Sales Tax in 2004 (renewed in 2018) and the Vehicle Registration Fee in 2010, created a reliable source of funding for crossing guards. The program now funds approximately 100 crossing guards throughout Marin County. Safe Routes congratulates Carmel on a job well done.

SR2S Newsletter – Spring 2022

SR2S Newsletter – Spring 2022

EXCITING NEWS: Our website has undergone a complete remodel so you can easily navigate and find up-to-date events and activities, suggested routes to school maps, on-line ped/bike education, Task Force information and more. Check it out and return often to get the latest information about your Safe Routes to Schools community and activities to keep you in gear.

Some of the new website features include:

  • Reorganized content for ease of use
  • New page highlighting SR2S’s equity work
  • Ability to filter encouragement programs and education classes by grade, topic, etc.
  • Translation widget to translate webpages into Spanish or other languages
  • Streamlined parent and teen volunteer toolkits

You’ll be able to access the new website using the same web address:


Safe Routes to Schools has some out of this world events for walkers and rollers this spring.  Mark your calendars so your student won’t miss out on these special, galactic activities at your school.

For information about activities at Bahia Vista, Venetia Valley, Coleman, Laurel Dell, Loma Verde, Lu Sutton, Olive and Lynwood, contact [email protected]. For all the other schools, contact [email protected].

Art by Claire Cochrane – White Hill

J.E.D.I. Challenge – Wednesdays: April 13, 20, 27, and May 4

[Dates may vary – check with your school volunteer]

Students can become a Planet J.E.D.I. (Joyful, Excited, Devoted, and Imaginative) by walking and rolling to school for Earth Month.  This four-week contest asks students to use their weekly Walk and Roll Super Powers for a chance to win raffle prizes.  Small “Skywalkers” can participate by parking and walking partway to school (1/4 mile or more).  Participating students can come to the morning welcome tables to get a J.E.D.I. card and have it stamped once per week.  On May 4th, the cards will be collected, and winners drawn. 

There will be Walk and Roll Wednesdays on April 13 (dates can vary by school) for those schools that couldn’t join the J.E.D.I challenge.


April 23 – Bridge the Bay Event
for High Schools

On April 23, high school students will come together to help raise climate equity awareness at the first event: Bridge the Bay hosted at Pickleweed Park in San Rafael. A former San Rafael High teacher and professional muralist, Tia Warner, will lead students in creating a street mural to showcase their passion for environmental awareness and justice. Emissions from cars, trucks and airplanes is the primary contributor to climate change in the U.S.  Oil refineries tend to go up in low-income neighborhoods, such as the one in Richmond, negatively impacting the health of our neighbors across the bridge. A bike ride across the Richmond Bridge will be led by Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s Policy Director, Warren Wells.  The Bay Area Bike Mobile will offer free bike repair services for families living in the Canal while the Bike Blender will supply smoothies created by pedal power.  For more information, contact [email protected]

Annual Bike Hero AWARD
– Coming This May

Seeking Bike Heroes – students who are stellar “roll” models by biking to school frequently while following the rules of the road. In May, parents, neighbors, friends, teachers and administrators are encouraged to nominate a Bike Hero from their school worthy of receiving this county-wide award. The award, offered to two elementary and two middle school students each year, is an opportunity to recognize students using safe riding practices (wearing a helmet, riding predictably with traffic on the right and in a straight line (not swerving between parked cars), obeying all traffic signals, riding slowly and in control). Start looking now for a student to nominate when the link on the Safe Routes website becomes active in May.


Cory’s Ride Next Year at Sinaloa

The next participants for the Cory’s Ride program were selected from Sinaloa Middle School.  This program provides the benefits of cycling to students who otherwise might not have the opportunity.  Eighteen kids will be working with Safe Routes over the next year, meeting for safety education classes, maintenance clinics, and monthly group rides.  Five to ten of those students will receive brand new bikes and equipment that they’ll get to keep! The Cory’s Ride program is a program of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition made possible by generous support from the Leonoudakis family and MCBC donors.


Renee Shelton: from Parent Volunteer to Safe Routes’ Instructor

Meet Safe Routes’ Instructor, Renee Shelton, who has been teaching rodeo classes to thousands of students for over ten years.  When asked what inspires her, she cites the meaningful work. “Not only do the students learn the rules of the road so they can be respectful and safe when riding on the streets, but I love seeing the joy on their faces when they do something they don’t think they can – such as riding over the teeter totter.”    

Renee has long been an advocate for green travel to school and the benefits it reaps.  When her two boys, Marcus and Noah were little, Renee parked her car at The Depot in Mill Valley and walked them to Old Mill Elementary School.  Eventually, she formed a Walking School Bus, fostering happy, excited kids and parents walking and talking as they strolled to school.  As her boys grew, Renee stepped into the role of Safe Routes Parent Volunteer to promote Walk and Roll events, promoting the joy of active travel to other families.

Fast forward ten years: her boys are at Tam High School and on the Mountain Bike team where her husband, Matt, coaches and Renee is a Ride Leader.  Both boys went to Nationals for both Cyclocross and Mountain Biking in 2021 and are slated to go again in 2022.  Marcus even went to Worlds for Cyclocross, in Brussels, at the age of 17.  Renee and Matt also race, but with a low-key, “just have fun” attitude. As Matt says, “it’s a skill to go slow” and the entire family loves riding with all skill levels.

Renee is passionate about sharing her love for biking with students of all abilities. “The bike classes are a great opportunity for kids to get introduced to cycling even if their parents don’t bike.  You can see the appreciation for riding a bike on their faces as their confidence builds.”  Renee adds, “and we have a great team at Safe Routes; the Instructors are all encouraging and supportive, and love sharing their knowledge.”

Graphic Art Talent at
White Hill Middle School!

If you’ve wondered where Safe Routes comes up with the graphics for its posters, they come straight from the teens. For the past four years, the wonderful art teachers at White Hill Middle School, Emma Beauchamp and Doretta Ruzzier-Gaul, have incorporated Safe Routes’ graphic needs into their curriculum. They create images of walkers, bikers, or skaters that express the joy and freedom of getting to school through active travel. The students use photographs, tablets, and computer programs to create their inspiring images. Sixty-two students worked on the project this year and loved the Star Wars theme “May the Fourth be With You”. (National Bike to School day is on May 4th). 

So much great artwork was produced that Safe Routes is not only using it for the Elementary and Teen posters, but will be showcasing it on the new website as a rolling slide show. Enjoy the talent!

Art by Sophia Lopez – White Hill


Walking School Bus Resources

Thinking about starting a walking school bus for your neighborhood?  Blue Zones provides instructions and a number of resources in its latest newsletter.   Check out the cool video as well. 

You can check out Marin’s resources here, using this link


Making Butterfield Road Safe for Everyone

Zoom Meeting to be held April 21 at 6 pm 

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 827 2353 7584
Passcode: 572054
One tap mobile +16699006833,,82723537584#,,,,*572054# 

Safe Routes to Schools has been working with Supervisor Rice’s office, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC), and a group of parents, community members and Town/County staff to make Butterfield Road safe for everyone. Click here to read the results of our community survey, where 90% of respondents support bike lanes!

Butterfield Road runs from San Anselmo into the unincorporated Marin County community of Sleepy Hollow. It connects three schools and is the only way in or out (by car) from the valley. It also serves as a bike through-route to Terra Linda via the pass at the top of Fawn Drive.

The Town section of Butterfield has bike lanes but at the County border (Oak Knoll Road), the bike lane appears to continue north, but no parking prohibition is enforced and there are many parked cars forcing riders and walkers into the path of traffic (there are no sidewalks).

Neighbors and frequent users of the road were uncomfortable with their children riding or walking on Butterfield. While Town and County staff asserted that the number of crashes was in fact below the average, many crashes had gone unreported, and there were countless stories of near misses. 

The Survey
To learn more about the problems encountered on Butterfield Road, the committee led by MCBC and the Sleepy Hollow Homeowners Association initiated a community survey.  The survey was a resounding success, with responses from 891 households accounting for over 2,000 individuals, 80% of whom live in San Anselmo. For those who want to dig into the results, you can find the full survey report here, or an abbreviated infographic version here. 

Users and Comfort
Butterfield Road is used in a wide variety of ways. Many use Butterfield for commuting, but high numbers of people use the road for school, to access Terra Linda by bicycle, to walk/stroll, or to visit neighbors. With regard to comfort among people walking or bicycling, a majority of respondents only felt comfortable “sometimes” or “seldom.”

The survey found that a much larger number of crashes had occurred on Butterfield Road than had been reported to police. Over half of the riders involved in crashes were children.

While most of the crashes we learned about were not particularly serious, it’s important to note that almost all of them could have been. Additionally, even minor crashes (especially those involving cars) are enough for a reasonable parent to tell their child, “I’ll just drive you to school from now on.” 

Respondents were asked whether they would support reconfiguring Butterfield Road to provide a complete bike lane, even if it meant removing some on-street parking. The support for this idea was overwhelming: over 85% of respondents answered “Yes, definitely” or “Yes, potentially” to this question.

The Safety Committee will be distributing information about a public meeting, during which the options for moving forward will be discussed, and folks’ questions will be answered. That meeting will be held on Zoom at 6 PM on Thursday, April 21st.

Larkspur’s Doherty Drive to get New Bike Lanes

Doherty Drive in Larkspur, from Magnolia Avenue to Lucky Drive, is getting an upgrade later this year. Almost one mile of buffered Class II bike lanes will be installed throughout the corridor, and a Class IV protected bikeway will be completed in front of the Redwood High School, between Riviera Circle West and Lucky Drive. This will close crucial gaps in the bike network, connecting several schools, parks, and residences along Doherty Drive to multi-use paths on both ends of the road. Other enhancements include a Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon at the uncontrolled crosswalk at Rose Lane. These improvements will upgrade existing routes and create new routes, opening up the opportunity for more students to safely walk and bike to school. 

Kids and Parents are Learning About
Safe Bicycling

It’s been a busy start to the spring, and Safe Routes is making the most of this beautiful weather with its education program.  Old Mill, Hidden Valley, Sun Valley, Manor, Brookside, Strawberry Park, Pleasant Valley, Lagunitas, Bolinas, and St. Patrick’s all received pedestrian and bicycle safety classes in the six weeks between the mid-February break and Spring Break. 

In early March, Safe Routes hosted a virtual Family Biking Live webinar.  Marin families tuned in to learn bike and helmet fit, how to navigate the road legally and responsibly, and how to build confident, safe cyclists based on age-appropriate development.  Now that spring has sprung, the  Family Biking classes will return to in-person events that include a family mini bike rodeo.  You can learn more and register for future events here.

The first ever Parent Education Night was hosted by the Mill Valley School District and PTA.  Parents were taught all of the things that their students are learning in school with Safe Routes so that they can reinforce behavior, and were able to address community questions and concerns.  E-bikes were one of the main topics of conversation, as the school district has seen quite a few students using them inappropriately.  Safe Routes offered tips and recommendations to help promote safer biking. To learn more about scheduling a Parent Education Night in your district, contact [email protected].


Proud Winner of a New Bike at Lu Sutton

Kindergartener Aiden Collins from Lu Sutton Elementary was the happy winner of a brand new bike and helmet raffled off by Safe Routes to Schools and sponsored by Mike’s Bikes. The giveaway was the idea of Eric Lucan, who is not only the new Mayor of Novato, but also the Chief Marketing Officer at Mike’s Bikes. 

To win the grand prize, Aiden walked to school every day for the Safe Routes’ Walk and Roll Fall Challenge. During October, November and December, students logged the days they walked or rolled to school.

“I liked to walk to school for the challenge. Sometimes we timed ourselves. I like that we got to be outside before school. I LOVE my new bike and want to ride it all the time: on ramps, on trails, and to school!” Aiden says.

PTA President Erin Compton also serves as a parent volunteer for the Safe Routes to Schools events at Lu Sutton. “We knew we had to spread the word and encourage the whole community to participate. When the day came, we had a huge turnout and saw the excitement on the faces of students as they learned they could get in on a chance for a new bike,” she said.

Hot Walk-aLot! a Hit

Sinaloa and Kent middle schools used a little play on words and served up hot chocolate to all walkers and rollers in January and February. Those cold mornings were perfect for a little hot cocoa hand warmer. The posters and broadcast announcements brought out hundreds of walkers, bikers, skateboarders, and scooter riders. We encouraged students who live too far away to PARK 10 minutes away from school and WALK the rest of the way. 

The Vice Principal at Kent was very appreciative. She said, “Thanks for this sweet way to encourage and celebrate our students walking and rolling to school! It’s incredible to know that 300 of our Falcons did so today!”

Special thanks to Peet’s Coffee for supplying us with jugs of hot water. 

Walk for Waffles!

The Kent Eco-Action club wanted to serve-up waffles and whipped cream to all walkers and bikers. But their school had approximately 300 students to feed on the rain-free day – too many waffles to serve!  To solve the problem they decided to have a contest pitting Physical Education (P.E.) classes against each other. The P.E. classes with the most walkers and rollers for an entire week won Waffle Parties –  whip cream too! 

Thanks to P.E. teachers Jason Gatti, Matt Gillespie, and MaryEllen Gore for taking the time to promote walking and rolling during your classes.

A big “Shout Out” to all P.E. teachers because you are the ones who spend extra time emailing us back and forth to schedule our classes. Safe Routes couldn’t administer the education program without you. 

SR2S Newsletter – Winter 2022

SR2S Newsletter – Winter 2022


Lace up those boots and get pumped!

Safe Routes to Schools has a host of activities planned for 2022

Wednesday, January 25, 2022, 11 a.m – 1 p.m. Parent volunteers will hear all about action inspired events for walkers and rollers on a Zoom call. Contact [email protected] for the link.

Come learn what’s in store and meet like-minded volunteers who passionately share the joy of promoting walking and rolling to school communities.

Second semester materials, guidebooks and incentives will be distributed. RSVP: [email protected]

Exciting Walk and Roll Opportunities in 2022!


Walk and Roll Wednesdays will continue with monthly themes celebrating Valentine’s Day in February and Pi(e) Day in March. These events are typically held on the first Wednesday of the month, but event days may vary depending on what works best for individual schools and the volunteers that host them.

A Spring Challenge will be launched in April to get students in the habit of walking and rolling to school regularly. There will be an assortment of fun raffle prizes and accolades for the student winners.

National Bike to School Day is on May 4th this year. Safe Routes is developing some fun May the FOURTH Be With You themed promotional materials to celebrate the event. Maybe Yoda will be seen biking to school that day.

Annual Bike Hero Contest! For the 5th year, Safe Routes will invite schools, parents and friends to nominate their Bike Hero – a student who is a good “roll model” for safe riding and encouraging others to ride to school. Nominations open in May.

Family Biking Education will continue with both FREE virtual and in-person instruction to help students and their parents learn the rules of the road and strategies to build confident cyclists. February 24, 6:00 -7:00 p.m. (Virtual) Registration Required; Other Dates TBD

Parent BIKE Education Night! In March, Mill Valley School District is hosting Marin’s first ever Parent Bike Ed. Night. The one-hour presentation covers the rules of the road that govern cycling behavior so parents can best demonstrate and train their own children. Content used to teach Safe Routes’ elementary through middle school bike classes will be shown. Share the Road classes appropriate for High School parents and teens can also be requested. Parent Ed. Night can be scheduled at other schools through [email protected].



Education Highlights

Safe Routes to Schools is on track to break a new record. Over 10,000 students will have taken its pedestrian and bicycle safety classes by June of 2022. This goal seems attainable because its instructors have taught 170 classes to 5,239 children since in-person teaching restarted, just four months ago.

The majority of the Safe Routes curriculum focuses on grades 2-6, providing in-class instruction as well as walking field trips and blacktop bike rodeos through schools’ PE departments. These lessons are essential to students learning how to safely navigate streets, make smart decisions, and treat all Marin residents with respect. We’ve even been able to provide “make-up classes” for students who Safe Routes didn’t get to instruct last year during the height of the pandemic. If you think your student may have missed out on in-person pedestrian and bike safety teaching last year, contact our Scheduling Coordinator, Peggy Clark ([email protected]). We also offer Share the Road classes for high school students

Safe Routes to Schools also has a partnership with the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, which implemented a “receive a bike” program called Cory’s Ride this year. Working with high school students over the course of 12 months, the goal of this program is to provide the joy and benefits of cycling to youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity. 16 students have already finished the classroom component (6 classes) and are on their way towards getting to keep their bicycles, helmets, and gear which will be completed with on-the bike training.


Olive Elementary Students Named Mayors of Novato for a Day


On December 13, Olive Elementary students Sofía Bermúdez, a kindergartener, and Kaylee Perry, a fifth grader, were Mayors of the City of Novato for a day. To win this grand prize, both students won a raffle conducted among Olive’s students who walked or rolled to school every day in October.

Novato’s Mayor, Pat Eklund, proposed the idea when she hosted a Safe Routes to Schools welcome table at Olive Elementary in October. The Mayor, a long-time Safe Routes supporter, hosted the students for a tour of the police station, the city offices, and City Hall. Mayor Eklund also made arrangements for Sofia and Kaylee to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the commencement of the City Council meeting the next day.

During their visit, Captain Sasha D’Amico offered the students and their parents a tour of the Police Department. She introduced the group to Police Chief, Matthew McCaffery, and explained to them the day-to-day operations of the police force, including the work performed by 911 dispatchers. At the City Building, Sofia and Kaylee met Assistant City Manager, Jessica Deakyne, who talked about the nature of her job and, in general, about what it means to be a “public servant.”

The experience ended with both children sitting at the Mayor’s desk at the City Council Chambers and using the gavel, which was not surprisingly, a highlight of the day.


u Walk – u Blend!



Kent Middle School’s Eco-Action Club came up with u Walk – u Blend! as a follow up on iWalk (International Walk to School Day).  Students who walked or biked to school on Nov. 10th could blend their own smoothies using our bicycle powered blender. It took all 10 Eco-Action club members, working at a non-stop pace, to serve 170 smoothies in a mere 30 minutes before the first bell. The club puts on monthly events to encourage more walking and biking. They chose to do the bike blender event in the winter because in the Spring and Fall there are even more Walkers and Bikers – almost 55% of the school gets there actively. That’s healthy living!


Staying Warm & Safe on Your Bike This Winter

The winter season has arrived and that means lower temperatures, shorter days, and likely more precipitation, yet a few tweaks to your bikes and gear can let you coast through the winter months as we await those nice long and warm days of spring and summer. Here are some top tips to ace the winter season and continue to enjoy your bike!

The brighter your lights, the safer your ride. A clip-on red blinking tail light in addition to a handlebar-mounted headlight will light the way and allow drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists to see you coming. Turn them on in the early commute hours and prior to sunset when low light makes motorists’ visibility challenging. The USB rechargeable type is easy to use and worth the investment for longevity. Your local bike shop should have a variety including commuter lights and more powerful lights for mountain biking.

Protect your bike from rain, puddles and moisture.After a ride, give your bike a wipe down with a rag and apply chain lubricant after every half dozen rides or so to protect it from rust. Most chain lube brands come in either a wet or dry mix. Wet is ideal for winter and you can use the dry version for the summer months. A little bit of chain lube goes a long way towards protecting your chain and gears from rust.

Keep the chill at bay. A windproof outer layer blocks the wind and keeps your core temps warm. Hands held in the same position on the bike can get really cold with lack of circulation. Full fingered gloves keep your digits toasty. Pay attention to get the proper fit so you can still safely pull the brake levers and shift your gears.



Concerned With Safety?



The Task Force Meeting is the place to bring your observations so decision makers can help resolve concerns along routes to schools.

Online Task Force meetings are scheduled three times per year for each school district. Contact Wendi Kallins at [email protected] to receive your district’s winter and spring Zoom links.

New West Marin Task Force
Safe Routes to Schools launched a new West Marin Task Force for Bolinas, Shoreline, and Lagunitas School Districts. With Zoom technology, we are now able to bring people in these unincorporated communities together, saving the time and hassle of traveling long distances to a meeting. We now have nine district Task Forces covering most of Marin County. All Safe Routes Task Forces will be developing new District Travel Plans, revamping the ones developed a decade ago.

Safe Routes is also creating “dot maps” from each district to graphically show where students live in proximity to the schools. This new tool enables us to determine how many students live within walking and biking distance in order to shape programs based on that information.

The Task Force schedule for the winter:

• Ross Valley Friday January 14, 10 am

• Kentfield – Thursday Jan 20, 9:30 am

• San Rafael – Tuesday January 25, 5 pm

• Tiburon – Friday January 28, 10 am

• Novato – Thursday Feb 3, 5 pm

• West Marin – Monday February 7, 7 pm

• Sausalito – Thursday Feb 10, 9:30 am

• Mill Valley – Wednesday February 16, 9:30

• Larkspur – Thursday Feb 17, 3:30

If you would like to participate in a Safe Routes to Schools Task Force contact Wendi Kallins [email protected]



National Infrastructure Bill has Increased Funding for Walking, Biking, and Transit

Children with school mascot

On November 5, 2021, the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and has now been signed into law. This bill includes historic funding levels and significant policy changes to make investments in connected streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, and Safe Routes to School, and to make those funding decisions more equitable by prioritizing neighborhoods and communities made vulnerable by historical and contemporary policy and funding decisions. It restores the Safe Routes to Schools Program as a separate line item, albeit without designated funding. Colloquially referred to as “the infrastructure bill”, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 is a monumental investment in the safety and support of people walking and bicycling.

To learn more, read the National Safe Routes Partnership’s blog and the follow-up article that explains what this means specifically for Safe Routes to Schools.


Redwood Newsletter Covers Infrastructure Improvements

Cyclists on a raised path next to passenger cars

Last September,  the town of Corte Madera widened Paradise Drive’s sidewalk near the Mariner Cove Neighborhood. The expansion covers the north side of San Clemente Drive to Seawolf Passage, directly across from Corte Madera’s Nugget Market, and extends the previously four foot wide path to eight feet.

The Larkspur/Corte Madera’s Safe Routes to Schools Task Force submitted a request for the widening in 2015. The Town of Corte Madera received a federal One Bay Area Grant for $595,000. After almost six years of designing, the construction for the new sidewalk officially began on June 31, 2021.

Redwood High School student Shyla Lensing reported on the project in the September issue of the Redwood Bark


Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day

Students hold banner reading

Last November, dozens of students from the Sausalito School District walked to class to honor Ruby Bridges. Over six decades ago, Bridges, an African-American girl defied the prevalent segregation in the United States by showing up every day to an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. With her act of courage, Ruby attained the unimaginable: the eventual integration of the school.

In preparation for the event, Bayside MLK teachers each read a book to their students about Ruby Bridges. Children were instructed to go to the welcome table in the front of school to receive bookmarks, stickers and other incentives to commemorate Ruby, who is today, one of the most important civil rights activists still alive.

Welcoming the students to school on November 17th were parent volunteers and their kids joined by Vicki Nicols from Age Friendly Sausalito; Doreen Gounard, Aide to Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters; Molly Graham from the Transportation Authority of Marin; and Gwen Froh from Safe Routes to Schools.

Photo – Principal David Finnane rallies students to celebrate Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.


Their Desire to Roll to School Turned Family into Bikers

Mother with two children on bicycles


Right before the pandemic, Heather Crossen, a mom of two from Venetia Valley School, put her older child on a bike and her little one on a scooter and followed them, jogging at times, on their way to class. Convinced that biking to school is good for their health and for the planet, she totally ditched the car for their commute to school.

When it was getting harder for Heather to keep up with her son, Zimry Vargas, a second grader, and daughter Zainy Vargas, a TK student, she got herself a bike. Later on, her daughter said she wanted to bike too, so the parents got her a bike and taught her to ride without training wheels. At just age four, Zainy was a fast learner and very skillfully follows her brother and mom for about a mile from their home to Venetia Valley. Because the school has few bikers, the three of them have become an example to others.

Not even adversity has deterred this family from their goal to use active travel. . A few months ago, Zimry’s brand-new bike (shown in the picture) was stolen from the entrance of their home. Heather asked  people via social media to donate a used bike and was offered one  in very good condition that Zimry is now using.

As her interest for green travel grew, the mom decided to volunteer her time to Safe Routes to Schools’ events at Venetia Valley. She has offered fresh ideas and additional energy to an already growing program in the school.

Register Your New Bike

Image of a bicycle with arrow pointing to underside of bottom bracket


Every year, hundreds of bicycles are stolen in Marin. Local law enforcement work diligently around the county and state to recover lost or stolen bicycles. Take a moment to register your bicycle as that is the quickest way for you to get it back in the event the police recover it. Registered property may also deter theft due to resale difficulties.

Do an online search for bike registration in your town or city. Each jurisdiction is different, however all law enforcement must enter every bike’s serial number into the statewide Automated Property System which reunites people with bikes as soon as they issue a police report. That means that if your bike is stolen in Marin but police find it in Modesto, you can get it back. The serial number is the key to matching bikes entered into the system with its rightful owner. In addition to registering your bike, take photos of your bike and save the original sales receipt in the event that you need to file a report.
The San Rafael Police Department uses an online registration form for local residents. Upon registration, the police department sends out a bike sticker with contact information linking the bike to the original owner.  For Mill Valley residents, here is the registration form. The Sherrifs’ Department also provides registration services. The Novato Police Department uses a National Bicycle Recovery program called 529 Garage. 529 Garage and the non-profit Bike Index are gaining in popularity because they service beyond local jurisdictions. Since the services are free, signing up on multiple sites is just a matter of taking the time to do so.

Where is my bicycle serial number? Most serial numbers are located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks meet. Turn your bike upside down and record the number.

SR2S Newsletter – Fall 2021

SR2S Newsletter – Fall 2021



After having a modified event in 2020 due to Covid, Safe Routes just received the green light from most Marin schools to host, in person, its biggest celebration of the year, International Walk & Roll to School Dayon October 6th.

The event, also known as “iWalk,” marks Safe Routes to School’s return to a new normal: vaxxed and masked parent volunteers will happily greet and hand out incentives to thousands of students from all over Marin who, that morning, walk and roll to school.

Get Your Move On! Walk-Bike-Skate to School

Just a few schools that are part of the program opted for a modified version of the event. They will still participate, but instead of having a welcome table with volunteers, teachers will hand out stickers to all the children who walked or rolled to campus that morning.

For 21 years, iWalk has been a tradition for Safe Routes. It celebrates families’ efforts to reduce traffic, create safer streets, improve air quality, make their kids fitter and more awake in the morning.

For more information contact [email protected] for elementary schools;  [email protected] for middle and high schools; [email protected] for Spanish speakers.


New Elementary School Volunteer Coordinator Joins Our Team


Cooper Miley headshot

Cooper Miley joined Safe Routes in the summer of 2021 as the Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant Instructor for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Classes. Cooper is passionate about building community with parents, students, and educators in Marin County.
In his day-to-day activities, Cooper will be working with volunteers on developing and delivering programs and events for 1st-5th grade students, focused on the importance of active transportation, traffic reduction, bicycle safety, and a healthy environment.

Cooper is an avid cyclist and lover of all things two wheels. In his free time, he can be found riding his road or mountain bike on the myriad of great roads and trails throughout the county. He is also an active coach with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and spends time coaching and mentoring high school athletes.


Crossing Guards Wanted


School crossing guard assists children crossing street

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) is looking to hire new crossing guards to protect children walking and biking to school across Marin. All City Management Services, the agency in charge of the hiring, is aiming to fill positions in cities located in Southern Marin, including Sausalito, Tam Valley, Strawberry, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Larkspur, and Corte Madera. Applicants must be 18 years or older. Seniors are welcome to apply.

To apply, contact Regional Manager Alan Stone  at 415-844-0223 or visit for more information or to apply.

TAM’s program was first implemented in 2006 with 54 crossing guards and has grown to 100 locally funded positions. Funding is provided by Marin’s local ½-cent transportation sales tax and the local $10 vehicle registration fee.



Safe Routes to Schools Task Force Meetings Now on Zoom


Zoom meeting of Task Force

In order to make it easier for school administrators, parents, and city officials to attend its task force meetings, Safe Routes to Schools switched its tri-annual meetings to Zoom.

The task force meetings are an essential part of Safe Routes to School’s work, aiming to modify infrastructure that represents an obstacle for children walking or rolling to school. These meetings present an opportunity for parent volunteers to have their safety concerns translated into improvements.

The collaborative process starts when issues, such as speeding cars, challenging intersections or missing sidewalks, are introduced and prioritized. A walk audit takes place, giving parents the opportunity to show Safe Routes traffic engineers the problem on the ground. The engineers then work with the local jurisdiction on concept solutions to the issue.  Local, state and federal programs provide the funding.  (TAM’’s Safe Pathway program offers local funding every 3-4 years).   Almost every concept plan eventually becomes a built project to protect children on their way to school.

The San Rafael task force meeting can be credited with the fast fix of a crosswalk in front of Laurel Dell Elementary. In the same way, a group of neighbors of Leafwood Drive in Novato obtained the creation of a new crosswalk after a child was hit by a car.

To join a Safe Routes to schools Task Force contact Wendi Kallins at [email protected]



Graphic of girl on bike wearing a helmet

Families That Bike Together Safely, Benefit Greatly


Group of bikers riding along a path

Starting at the end of May, the first in-person Family Biking classes were hosted once again  at Tam Valley Community Center in Mill Valley. Eight eager families came to hone their skills on the chalked Bike Rodeo course, learning bike skills and rules of the road in a controlled environment away from traffic. All joined for a family friendly ride along the Mill Valley Sausalito Pathway to practice riding in a straight line to the right, walking bikes in crosswalks, and responding to adult instructions.

Bike safety classes are taught annually by Safe Routes League-Certified Instructors to thousands of Marin elementary and middle school students. Family Bikingshows parents firsthand how Instructors teach safe cycling skills and pro-tips for continued reinforcement.

Family Biking classes are being scheduled throughout the year at various schools and locations. Follow us on Facebook  to receive up-to-date notifications.

Two upcoming events are: 1. Drop-In “Pedal Playground” Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5:00-6:30, Novato Town Hall at 901 Sherman Ave:; 2. family bike ride and scavenger hunt as part of MCBC’s Biketoberfest October 16, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in Fairfax. Register here.


Federal Infrastructure Bill is Good News for SR2S


Street intersection with traffic cones

The Infrastructure and Jobs Act passed by the Senate in August increases funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), recodifies the Safe Routes to School program into current law, and expands it to cover high schools. The Act would mean a $2.5 billion increase for sidewalks, bike lanes, Safe Routes to School programming, and trails across all five years.

The law also strengthens the language in the federal Surface Transportation Program and the Highway Safety Improvement Program to proactively affirm that those funds can be used for Safe Routes to School projects, rather than just relying on TAP funding.
Under this bill, states would have more flexibility with matching requirements. They could use federal safety funds as the local match for projects that improve safety – including all Safe Routes to School projects.

The new law will also protect TAP funding from being used for other purposes. Under current law, states can transfer up to 50 percent of their TAP dollars out of the program. On average, states transfer roughly 20 percent of funding to other uses, which takes funding away from local governments looking to improve safety. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would only allow transfers if a state has held a competition, provided technical assistance to applicants, and still did not have enough quality applicants to use all the funding.  The bill is still awaiting final approval from the House before it goes to the President for signature.

For a full analysis of the bill go to


The Hidden Health Reward for Active School Travel


Doctor Michelle Jonelis with several bikes


Doctor Michelle Jonelis bikes 2.5 miles to school every morning with her 1st and 3rd graders to trigger their circadian rhythms, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep–wake cycle. As a sleep medicine doctor, she knows how critical morning sunlight and exercise is for daytime alertness, positive mental health, and sound sleep at night.

Her advice to other parents is “make it a priority and don’t give your kids a choice.”  The habit of biking in the morning was first met with resistance, but through Mom’s perseverance and making it fun with a weeklong bike camp, her children are now eager to ride every day.

“It’s magical,” Dr. Jonelis says, reflecting on how they sing songs while riding to school together. “I like being able to get places by myself,” adds her 8-year-old daughter. “It’s fun,” joins her 6 year old brother.

Dr. Jonelis also points to cargo bikes being a game-changer, allowing her family to go from two cars to one when the kids were just two and four. Though the kids now pedal their own bikes to school, she can strap on their bikes for the return trip home.

Other Marin Moms and Dads are investing in their children’s morning health routine. The e-cargo bike is reinventing families’ mobility as it overcomes obstacles such as hills, long distances, and heavy loads. Get inspired by watching MotherLoad on October 15th at 6 pm in Sausalito. Details link here.


New Contest will be Launched at Bilingual Schools


Walk and Roll Challenge score card

A grant by the Marin Health and Human Services will sponsor a new fall contest at schools where many of the students subscribe to the free and reduced price program. The schools included are Bahia Vista, Laurel Dell, Venetia Valley, Coleman, Lynwood, Olive, Lu Sutton and Loma Verde.

The grant provides incentives for kids at the welcome table when they walk or roll to school along with active mobility raffle prizes, such as scooters, to be awarded in December.

Students receive a card on which they daily track if they walked, biked, scootered or skateboarded to school. The first card will be handed out to children who come to the Safe Routes’ welcome table during International Walk to School Day on October 6th. At the next event, on November 3rd, parent volunteers will swap the completed October cards for a new November card. This contest will run from October to December. Before the Holiday recess, Safe Routes will conduct a raffle among the kids that walked or rolled the most at every school. Students with the greatest number of days actively traveled will also be publicly recognized each month.

For questions, contact Monica Leifer at [email protected]

Bicycle Safety and Injury Prevention Webinar: Thursday, September 30, 5:30-6:30 p.m



With bicycle use becoming more popular, and with schools back in session, bicycle safety has never been more important. Bicycle crashes are among the top causes of injury seen in the Emergency and Trauma Department at Marin Health Medical Center and other hospitals. Bicyclists and motorists both play a role in preventing crashes and injuries.

Featured speakers are Gwen Froh, Program Director of Safe Routes to Schools and Education Director, Marin County Bicycle Coalition along with Edward Alfrey, MD,  Medical Director, Trauma, MarinHealth Medical Center and Chair, Department of Surgery, and Director, Marin Health Care District.  For more information:

This webinar is dedicated to the memories of Deb Hubsmith and Cindy Winter.