Safe Routes to School
Welcome to Virginia Safe Routes to School!
If you’re new to Safe Routes to School, click here for an introduction letter to the program from Virginia’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rob Williams. And be sure to check out this program brochure for some quick facts about Virginia Safe Routes to School.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has been active in Virginia since 2007 and helps schools and communities across the state make walking and biking to school a safe, convenient, natural activity.
December 1 - Most Outstanding Crossing Guard Nominations Open
The Virginia Safe Routes to School program wants to celebrate crossing guards who make a difference in our communities by recognizing the most dedicated and passionate crossing guards. Outstanding crossing guards may include police officers, volunteers, teachers, and others who routinely help students cross the street. Nominate your crossing guard between now and Wednesday, January 25, 2017 for them to be considered for the Most Outstanding Crossing Guard award.
All of the nominees will receive a letter and certificate of appreciation, and the most compelling nominees will be featured as Virginia's Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of 2016 on the Virginia Safe Routes to School website and in the Spring 2017 Newsletter.
November 10 - Changes to the National Center's Data System and an Update on Recent School Travel Trends Webinar
Last month, the National Center rolled out new features to streamline administration of online parent surveys and travel tallies that are ready for you to use. Although FHWA’s Safe Routes to School clearinghouse funding ends in 2016, the National Center for Safe Routes to School stays committed to supporting student travel data collection.
Most of the presentation time will provide an overview of recent changes and lead attendees on a step-by-step tour of the online data system, responding to attendee questions throughout the presentation. If you have any questions heading into the webinar, please submit them when you register and we’ll do our best to address them.
Presenter: Seth LaJeunesse, Associate Director and Data Master, National Center for Safe Routes to School
Date: Thursday November 17, 2016
Time: 2:00 pm Eastern Time
Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/427080380997868292
November 6 - Be Safe, Be Seen
While the extra hour gained when clocks "fall back" on November 6 is nice, Daylight's Savings Time means most school travel occurs outside of daylight hours. With the time change and colder temperatures outside, it's important to discuss how to stay safe when walking or biking during the winter months. Check out these tips from our friends at Walk Arlington:
- Be safe and be seen. Follow basic safety rules, like looking both ways before you cross a street, crossing at marked crosswalks, watching for traffic, paying attention to cyclists, and walking to the right on trails and paths. Assume drivers can’t see you and proceed with caution, especially when days are short and weather conditions unfavorable.
- Share the way. Be mindful of cyclists, runners, and other trail users. Walk on the right, and listen for bells and audible warnings. Watch for icy spots!
- Walk with friends or in places where there are other walkers, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
- Mind over matter. Suppress the cold-weather hibernation instinct by thinking “brisk” and “invigorating” instead of colder thoughts.
- Cover your head and other parts to stay warm. Dress in layers, and don’t forget the mittens or gloves and hat — you lose 35 percent of your body heat through your head!
- Pay extra attention to your feet. Wear warm socks with room for toe wiggling. Lace up walking shoes with plenty of traction for those occasional icy patches.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing and stay visible. With fewer daylight hours and cloudy conditions, it’s important to don a high-visibility outer layer.
- Consider the conditions when planning your route. Walk where trees offer some shelter from the wind.
- Start slowly and take it easy. Muscles warm up as you go. Adjust your pace for the weather conditions to decrease your chances of straining a muscle or taking a fall.
October 31 - 300 Virginia schools take part in Walk to School Day!
Virginia had another year of record breaking participation in Walk to School Day, with 300 schools registering events on www.walkbiketoschool.org.
Sixteen schools participated in their first Walk to School Day events, and several school divisions had 100% participation. Thank you to everyone who took part in these events for helping us reach our ambitious goal for the year.
August 29 – New Zone In, Not Out Resources Available
The VA SRTS Program has released three new resources to support its Zone In, Not Out School Zone Safety Campaign. The new resources include a guide on Speed Reduction in the Zone, a Safe Driver Pledge Kit and templates for Zone In, Not Out branded Yard Signs.
See all of the materials on the Zone In, Not Out page.
Are you using these materials at your school? Please send us photos at Info@VirginiaSRTS.org for a chance to be featured in a future newsletter!
Shrevewood Elementary School’s Healthy Living Festival, Falls Church VA
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally-funded program created under Section 1404 of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
As written in SAFETEA-LU, the purpose of the SRTS program is to:
- Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school
- Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age
- Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools
In July 2013, MAP-21 – the new federal transportation bill -- became law, folding SRTS into a new Transportation Alternatives program. SRTS projects are now eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program. VDOT’s Local Assistance Division is managing the Transportation Alternatives program. Click here for more information.
Non-infrastructure funding from SAFETEA-LU is still available through the Virginia Safe Routes to School Program. More information is available on the Travel Plans and Grants landing page.
Virginia SRTS Program Strategic Plan
The VDOT Safe Routes to School Program completed a Strategic Plan to guide our work through 2017. The Plan is available for download by clicking on the cover.
Robert J. Williams
Safe Routes to Schools Program coordinator
Transportation and Mobility Planning Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219