Missouri Safe Routes to School Network takes action in twelve areas

Today the Missouri Safe Routes to School Network released its first progress report (PDF file).

MO SRTS Network logo
MO SRTS Network logo

The Missouri SRTS Network, which is working to encourage more children to bicycle and walk to school more often, has Action Teams in twelve specific areas, designed to create policy change in Missouri to move Safe Routes to School forward.

A summary of the progress since January 2010 in each of the Network's twelve Action Areas:

  1. Complete Streets Policies: Missouri has made considerable progress in moving Complete Streets forward. Four cities and two MPOs have previously adopted Complete Streets policies.  Now the St Louis City Council has also adopted a Complete Streets policy tand the Kansas City MPO has included strong Complete Streets language in its draft long range plan that will be adopted this summer. The full Missouri House passed a Complete Streets Resolution in May. MoDOT adopted a new and greatly improved pedestrian policy in January and is currently working to improve its bicycle policies. MU Extension is hiring a planner to working toward a statewide complete streets policy.  Cindy Deblauw, who is hiring the person has updated our action item goals and tasks to match MU Extension's plan and timeline. 
  2. SRTS Champions: The network has successfully finished the action plan and devised the idea to include Champions as an action item.  Cindy Mense of Trailnet provided a presentation on the regular SRTS Network monthly call that included information about TrailNet's work to foster local champions in schools in the St Louis area.   Action Team members are working to create a pilot program in one school district to integrate SRTS and sign-up for Walking School Buses into the district's student registration process.
  3. Bicycle/Pedestrian Curriculum & Large Scale Instruction: Following the top item in our Action Plan for this item, the Missouri Foundation for Bicycling & Walking applied for and MoDOT has awarded a grant for a mass bicycle skills instruction program that will reach over 1000 middle schoolers with three hours of intensive, on-bike instruction.  This will be a pilot program with the aim of replicating the program across the state.
  4. SRTS Statewide Non-Infrastructure Plan & Application Guidelines: Meetings have taken place with John Schaefer, MoDOT SRTS Coordinator, and other stakeholders; they have developed the main goals and timeline for creating a structure within MoDOT for handling large-scale statewide or region-wide non-infrastructure projects.
  5. SRTS Mass Communication: MoDOT SRTS grants have been awarded to create a website, e-newsletter, print newsletter, SRTS guidebook, and promoting Walk/Bike to School Days statewide.  However we are still waiting on notice to proceed.  Press releases have been started, facebook groups, website framework are in place. 
  6. Underserved Communities & Personal Safety: The Action Team has worked on refining goals and researching the policy.  A small sample of Missouri school children survey was completed to determine the need for SRTS. 
  7. School Wellness Policies: Conversations between team members has been strong.  Another group is working to update Missouri's wellness policy; our group is set to improve SRTS portions of the policy when that happens.  Group has set a monthly meeting time.
  8. Educate key policy makers and groups about SRTS: Working to create powerpoint presentations and printed materials to summarize each Action Item. Working to incorporate Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign into the materials.
  9. Joint Use Agreements & School Siting Policies: Network member Amy Eyler has located a grad student who will research these items and move this Action Item forward this summer.
  10. School Bus Funding/Transportation Funding Formulas: Sarah Zimmerman from NPLAN provided a detailed description and analysis of Missouri's school bus funding policy.  Her research was compiled into a paper and she summarized the findings in a conference call with Missouri Network partners.  Next step is putting the findings into the form of a white paper and one-page summary sheets, then working to create pilot projects to prove the value of the policy changes. 
  11. SRTS Data Gathering & Analysis: Missouri's Department of Health & Senior Services may be willing put a question regarding Bicycling/Walking or SRTS in the MO DHSS periodic surveys of Missourian's health.  This would generate the first solid, statewide data on SRTS in Missouri and track that data over time.  St Louis firm Transtria has offered to help with data gathering and/or analysis of SRTS-related data.
  12. Strategic Highway Safety Plans: SRTS Network partner Sharee Galnor is on the MO State Highway Safety Committee.  Policy research has been completed.
  13. School Siting: The network held a school siting policy webinar with Renee Kuhlman of the National Trust for Historic Places.

    See also an overall summary of the Network's progress since January 2010.

    If you would like to join the Missouri Safe Routes to School Network or one of its twelve Action Teams, find out more on the Network's web page or contact missouri@saferoutespartnership.org.