Walk.Bike.Schools posted a roundup of Safe Routes to School mini-grants that will help students all across the city more safely and easily get to school on foot or by bike.
SDOT will fund 28 of 30 applications they received for funding, the largest number of projects ever funded through the Safe Routes to School program. The total bill is $27,700, mostly for public elementary or K-8 schools spread throughout the city. Interestingly, there there are no high schools on the list, WBS notes.
In some ways, that might be a good thing. If last year was the year walking and biking to school officially broke (i.e. became cool and not weird), then 2013 could be the year it really takes off city-wide. This is a good investment to help get our youngest students in the habit of walking and biking in big numbers.
Walk.Bike.Schools has a few highlights (see full list below). From WBS:
Loyal Heights Elementary in Ballard is looking to establish an after-school urban cycling club for 4th and 5th graders. The goal is to provide kids with a strong foundation of bike safety education combined with application of the skills they learn. The program is still under development, and grant funding will be helpful to pay for professional instruction by Cascade Bicycle Club instructors as well as to purchase supplies. Parent volunteers will also be involved, learning about the content and delivery of the curriculum to ensure program continuity into future seasons. The intent is to create a 4 to 1 ratio of kids to adults, so that students get very personalized instruction, and to include learning and practice initially on school grounds, then ultimately through short, organized rides around the neighborhood. This model is an interesting one; we hope to track the progress and report back as the program is launched and implemented. Perhaps it will create a model for other schools to consider.
Denny International Middle School in West Seattle is establishing a new program this year, and is planning on using the funds on creative incentives to support and encourage more Denny students to choose alternative ways to school, as well as on some dedicated routes to access the school. They are planning on focusing on both student and teacher involvement and will use the funds for signage around the school grounds to make a designated route, along with promotional materials including prizes to reward regular ridership. Denny also has an opportunity to collaborate with the co-located Chief Sealth International High School and its Major Taylor program. Denny is also beginning to looking at add opportunities for creating covered bike parking using existing bike racks so weather is not an issue when locking up bikes, though this will likely require additional funding. (Many schools are interested in exploring better bike parking options including covered parking; we’ll explore this in a future post.)
Cascade’s grant proposal is to hold two workshops entitled “Bike Training – How to Run and Ride Your Bike Train,” one in the north end of Seattle and one in the south end. These workshops will be held at community centers and will be open to the public; parents and children will learn how to ride in a bike train on the road. Each workshop will include a short lecture for parents in bike train organization and safe route choices as well as a supervised bike rodeo for children, a skill-building course for parents and a short ride on neighborhood streets. After seeing first-hand the success of the Thornton Creek bike trains this past year, it will be interesting to see whether this program can help launch bike trains at more schools.
UPDATE: Here’s the full list of 2013 projects, from SDOT: