Thursday, June 27, 2019

New Safe Routes to Schools Plan Released

Earlier this week Ride Salem, the rental bike program, launched and yesterday Safe Routes to Schools published their 2019 Visioning Plan for Salem-Keizer. These are auspicious beginnings for the summer!

The committee
(Councilor Cook is identified with County only)
The plan is worth a look, but it's also a vision, and still early in the process. There's not a lot of concrete detail on actual plans. It's more about hopes and ideas and potential.

The main thing is to hire a full-time coordinator and to establish programs at four schools.

Chief Goal: Hire a full-time coordinator,
then install programming at four schools
Then there's a whole wish-list of things that might be done.

Potential activities
If there's a weakness to the plan, it might be that it does not give sufficient attention to factors that led previous efforts to fizzle out. While it briefly rehearses some of the history of the last decade, it does not dwell on reasons things did not gain traction. It might inspire more confidence if it identified previous barriers, especially institutional ones, and had plan details for overcoming them. It has rarely been talk that was missing here; it was always on the walk that institutions faltered. So the plan as published is optimistic and forward-looking. Perhaps the forensic perspective is not necessary with this fresh start, but it's an interesting omission.

One of the Bicycle Safety Education classes in 2010
Give the plan a look, especially if you have school-age children and are interested in supporting programming at your neighborhood school.

From back in 2013
It's been a bit of a slog, and it's great to see progress finally.


Anonymous said...

The Council of Governments and Salem-Keizer School District jointly submitted a grant application in May to ODOT's Non-infrastructure SRTS grant program, requesting funds to hire a SRTS coordinator for 3 years (starting this fall). It's a competitive grant. The SRTS Advisory Committee will review the applications on July 9 and develop a recommendation to present to the Oregon Transportation Safety Committee.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Yeah, I haven't mentioned this detail because I have real mixed feelings.

On the one hand, since the School District is more than just Salem, it's appropriate to have a regional entity working on this.

On the other hand, the MPO thinks walk/bike stuff is an extra, always needing to be funded on top of existing road funding, and they are devoted to autoism and capacity increase. Until they are able to self-generate a critique of autoism and see non-auto transport as foundational - not to mention embracing greenhouse gas reductions - there's a risk this is a lot of greenwashing.

So we'll see.