Newsletter

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: www.saferoutestoschools.org

GALACTIC EVENTS COMING
THIS SPRING!

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 monica@marinbike.org. For all the other schools, contact cooper@marinbike.org.

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 Cooper@marinbike.org

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 www.saferoutestoschools.org/project/walking-school-bus/

 

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.”

Crashes
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 peggy@marinbike.org.

 

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. 

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