Jim Tasse, the director of education for the Coalition, and Darcy Whittemore, coordinator for the Safe Routes to School Program through MDOT and the Coalition discuss the best ways to get your kids into safe and fun biking!
John Summo, a Coalition-trained bicycle safety educator, is featured in this news story about the Leroy Smith School in Winterport’s bike safety classes. Nice work making biking better in Maine, John!
National Bike to School Day is Wednesday May 9th! Several Maine schools have already registered for the National event…check out who’s biking: http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/go/
It’s not too late to make your plans for Biking to school. If you need some safety tips, watch this video by 4th graders at Coastal Ridge Elementary School http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WTDQ3VC3yE&feature=youtu.be
The Maine Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program announced the selection of its 2012 mini-grant recipients last week — a program made possible through the federal Safe Routes to School program with the assistance of several local Healthy Maine Partnerships. Twenty-one schools, municipalities and organizations from across the state will receive $250-$500 to support projects designed to encourage students and their families to safely walk and bicycle to school. The mini-grant activities, some led by students, will occur this spring and, for some communities, continue through Fall 2012.
“We continue to be impressed with how communities can leverage a very small amount of funding and a lot of commitment to develop new programs and to build upon strategies that may already be working well,” said Dan Stewart, the State Safe Routes to School Coordinator at MaineDOT. “We received three times the number of applications as last year’s process, which is a great sign of the activity and interest in walking and biking for young people around the state – as well as the desire communities have for a variety of transportation options.”
SRTS programs are sustained efforts by schools, parents, schoolchildren, community leaders and local, state, federal and tribal governments to improve safety and enable and encourage more children to walk and bicycle to school. The Maine Safe Routes to School Program, which serves the state for the federal SRTS program, originally planned to be able to fund up to ten projects. However, due to the generous assistance of several local Healthy Maine Partnerships, as well as the Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Program, Maine SRTS was able to award 21 qualified applicants for their community projects. Funds will be used for everything from student and volunteer safety vests to bicycle helmets to walk and bike-related safety incentives.
All mini-grant projects include at least one safe walking or biking experience for local students and one activity that improves safety and promotes safe walking and bicycling. Proposed mini-grant activities include bicycle and pedestrian safety education through the school’s physical education curriculum, bike safety rodeos, and after-school bike clubs; school travel planning to evaluate barriers to walking and bicycling, including infrastructure assessments, parent surveys, student travel mode surveys, and safe routes mapping; student-led walk and/or bike safety patrols; walking and bicycling field trips; walk and bike to school events; creation of school bicycle fleets;and work on safety enforcement with local police.
“These mini-grant projects represent a collection of great ideas and great need,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. “Maine communities demonstrate tremendous flexibility and creativity in their strategies to improve safety for students walking and biking to school and after-school activities – and that’s what makes the Maine SRTS mini-grant program work so well.”
The 21 selected Maine SRTS Mini-grant recipient program locations and schools are: (for more information on specific planned activities, go to http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=DOT_bikeped_news&id=367855&v=full )
- Bath, Brunswick, Freeport & Topsham – The Merrymeeting Wheelers Bicycle Club working with area elementary and middle schools
- Bath – Bath Middle School
- Buxton – Bonny Eagle Middle School – with Coastal Healthy Communities partnering on funding
- Freeport – Freeport Middle and Mast Landing Elementary Schools
- Greenville – Nickerson Elementary School
- Kennebunk – Kennebunk Elementary School, with Coastal Healthy Communities partnering on funding
- Limestone – Limestone Recreation Center working with Limestone Community School
- Monmouth – Henry L. Cottrell School
- Naples – Songo Locks School – with Healthy Lakes Region (CPHC) partnering on funding
- North Berwick – North Berwick Police & North Berwick and Mary Hurd Schools – with Choose To Be Healthy partnering on funding
- Norway – Rowe Elementary School
- Oakland – Atwood Primary School
- Pittsfield – Vickery Elementary & Warsaw Middle Schools
- Portland – Longfellow Elementary
- Richmond – Marcia Buker Elementary School
- Scarborough – Pleasant Hill Primary School – with Healthy Rivers Region (CPHC) partnering on funding
- Sebago – Sebago Elementary School – with Healthy Lakes Region (CPHC) partnering on funding
- Topsham – Mt. Ararat Middle School – with ACCESS Health partnering on funding
- Westbrook – Canal, Congin, and Saccarappa Elementary Schools – with Healthy Rivers Region (CPHC) partnering on funding
- Woolwich – Woolwich Central School
- York – York Police Department & York Middle, Coastal Ridge Elementary, & Village Elementary Schools – with Choose To Be Healthy partnering on funding