Citywide Safe Routes to School Plan Needs Your Support

March 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 1 Comment

Isabelle at her elementary school in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Photo by her Uncle Junue Millan, who when he can, walks with her to school. Photo courtesy of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership

This Friday, LA City Council will consider funding a Citywide Safe Routes to School Plan. Safe Routes to School is a state and federal funding program to improve the bicycle infrastructure in a two mile radius around a school as well as to fund education and encouragement programs.

Historically the City of Los Angeles has not faired well due to the competitive nature of these grants and the lack of strategy and comprehensive community engagement with schools, parents, and students. Thus far the process has been piecemeal and we need a strategy that is equitable, rooted in data, good planning, allows for community engagement, and increases quality of project proposals and competitiveness.

The proposed plan before Council on Friday is called for in the new City of LA Bicycle Plan and we’re encouraged to see LADOT staff moving forward on implementing one of the programs in the plan. Funding for the plan will come from the Measure R local return pedestrian set-aside that LACBC, the bicycle community, and our allies fought for last year.

LADOT staff is recommending using collision data to prioritize the city’s efforts and develop a meaningful approach to making communities in the city more walkable and bikable for kids and parents on their way to school (see staff proposal here). LACBC and the Safe Routes to National Partnership are recommending that the City also use socio-economic data in the prioritization as we know that children and their families in low-income communities suffer a disproportionate burden of disease and injury.

Additionally, we are asking the City to develop a strong education and encouragement component that parents and teachers can easily implement in their schools, and to create a Citywide Safe Routes to School Taskforce or Advisory Committee to bring parents, students, teachers, city departments, law enforcement, public health and other community leaders together to oversee the plan and its implementation.

A citywide strategic Safe Routes to School plan will allow the City to prioritize and methodically address making it safer for students to walk and bike to school.  It will ensure the city is competitive and awarded Safe Routes to School state and federal funding, leverage our existing transportation funding and initiatives, and improve the safety and mobility of our youngest citizens.

We need your help to make sure Los Angles City Council knows how important this proposal is for all city neighborhoods. We’re asking folks to submit comments directly to your  Councilmembers as an individual, parent and/or student. Please email or fax your councilmember – click here for a listing of their contact information.

Please join LACBC and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership on Friday.

Where: Van Nuys City Hall – 14410 Sylvan Street

When: 10 A.M., Friday, April 1st, 2011

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  1. […] bike events; Bikeside urges all to join them at the BPIT meeting April 5th. LACBC says the citywide Safe Routes to School plan needs your help on Friday. Travelin’ Local offers stats showing that L.A. bike collisions are on […]

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