iWALK RETURNS IN PERSON.

 

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 cooper@marinbike.org for elementary schools;  Lou@marinbike.org for middle and high schools; Monica@marinbike.org 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 visithttps://acmssafety.com/careers/ 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 wkallins@igc.org

 


 

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 https://www.facebook.com/MarinSR2S  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: https://www.novato.org/government/parks-recreation-community-services/events/movies-in-the-park; 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. https://forms.gle/EWsJUoNRV1QLKNtTA

 



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 https://www.saferoutespartnership.org/blog/bipartisan-infrastructure-bill-makes-meaningful-strides-toward-increasing-funding-and-improving.

 


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 monica@marinbike.org


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: https://mymarinhealth.zoom.us/j/97974901082

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