Safe Routes to School National Partnership Announces New Website
August 21, 2007
As children across the country prepare for the start of school, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is taking steps to make their trip to school a healthier activity. Today, the partnership launched a new website (www.saferoutespartnership.org) to help parents, schools, local and state governments, and advocacy groups implement programs that will encourage more kids to walk and bike to and from school. The $612-million federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2005, provides funding to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to support education and enforcement programs and to help communities improve infrastructure such as building sidewalks and bike paths. The SRTS program is an important initiative, as the percentage of U.S. students who walk and/or bicycle to school declined from approximately 50 percent in 1969 to only 15 percent today. At the same time, obesity rates have increased dramatically among children of all ages. Today, more than 33 percent of children and adolescents—approximately 25 million kids—are overweight or obese. In addition, the SRTS program helps relieve traffic congestion caused by parents driving their children, which is substantial in many U.S. communities. "We created this website to help people take action now to bring SRTS programs to their communities," said SRTS National Partnership Director Deb Hubsmith. "The potential benefits of SRTS programs include healthier children, reduced congestion around schools, less pollution, and safer streets." Other features of the new site include an interactive U.S. map that allows users to access pages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, a robust search function, updated national SRTS news, in-depth policy pages, event listings, resources and a submit-a-story form. The new website is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bikes Belong Coalition. Bikes Belong provided initial funding for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership in 2005 and has been its host organization ever since. Read more about the . Visit the new website.