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Safe Routes to School Program 2019-2020 Annual Report

Picture of children and school mascot holding a walk and roll sign.

The Beaverton School District (BSD) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program is made possible with support from Metro, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the City of Beaverton. This three year, grant funded opportunity, allowed BSD to facilitate the creation of two district SRTS coordinator positions within the BSD Transportation Department in August of 2019. This school year saw an unprecedented challenge to our schools, district, community and planet when we experienced a pandemic that required the closure of all school buildings and a swift shift to remote learning and programing. This annual report reflects the accomplishments of BSD’s SRTS program, our challenges and plans to promote healthy, safe and active transportation use to and from school and throughout the community.


Equitable Access to Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

Children holding educational signs in training class
Children holding PALS signs

All students, regardless of their mode of travel to school, need to learn how to safely navigate and move about in their communities. Whether a student is walking to school, riding a bike to the park, or crossing the street to a friend’s house, the student needs to learn skills to keep them safe. BSD took a huge step forward this year by ensuring that all K-5th grade students receive pedestrian and bicycle safety instruction. SRTS coordinators will rotate through all 34 elementary schools over the course of 3 years to teach one 45 min lesson to all K-5th grade students. This year we reached 2,724 overall students at the following schools: Barnes, Jacob Wismer, William Walker, Fir Grove and Errol Hassell. Five additional schools were scheduled for the spring of 2020, however, school closures canceled those lessons and we will be forming a plan to reschedule and find ways to continue to meet the growing need for pedestrian and bicycle safety instruction.

"I learned that when you cross the street, you have to look all ways, not just left and right."

– Kindergarten student at Fir Grove Elementary


 

Walk, Bike, Bus... It's the Way to Go!!!

 

Event Days See Big Wins

Regular events like “Walk + Roll to School Days” and  “May Challenge Month” generate enthusiasm for the program and allow parents to experience that when more people walk and roll to school, the routes are safer and easier to use for everyone. On average, schools saw a 20% increase in their Walk/Bike/Bus rate on event days.

 

Walk + Roll Events

SRTS assisted schools with 129 Walk + Roll events at 34 schools with almost 15,000 trips recorded. Some schools participated in one event and others did monthly or even, twice weekly celebrations. SRTS offered their first virtual Walk + Roll events to meet the needs of students learning from home this spring. This opportunity allowed students at schools that typically don’t host a Walk + Roll event to participate for the first time.

“My favorite part (of the May Walk + Roll Challenge) was biking and scootering because they were new and I could go fast!” – 3rd grade student at McKay

“My favorite part was that I got to spend time with my family when we were scooting.” - 4th grade student at Findley

 

Walk + Roll Highlights

  • Highland Park MS leadership students assisted their Title 1 feeder school, Fir Grove, with Walk + Roll to School day in the fall.
  • Sato and Springville, with almost 100% of students provided with busing, participated in Fall Walk + Roll day for the first time, by encouraging students to ride the bus. One school bus takes about 36 cars off the road which decreases congestion and traffic around schools while increasing air quality with less car emissions. On event day these schools saw a 20% increase in bus ridership.
  • Bonny Slope was awarded Fall Walk + Roll Champion with a 98% participation rate, and a whopping 49% increase in the amounts of students who typically walk/bike/bus.
  • Jacob Wismer joined Scholls Heights and Sexton Mountain Elementary in offering students an opportunity to walk to school with friends and volunteers on a Walking School Bus this year.
  • SRTS offered several virtual events this year when campuses were closed. The April WE Walk Challenge was followed by a virtual May Walk + Roll Challenge and our first ever summer Turf to Surf Challenge kicks off this month. Congratulations to Sexton Mountain Elementary for hosting a virtual Walk + Roll Wednesday each week during remote learning!

"More kids should do a Walking School Bus because it's really healthy for you. It's basically like a walking play date. You're walking, but you're hanging out with your friends."

- 3rd grade student at Sexton Mountain Elementary


This is How We Walk + Roll

The annual SRTS art contest grew by enormous numbers this year as we took the contest district-wide for K-5th grades. SRTS received over 1000 entries and partnered with the Beaverton Bike Advisory Committee to judge and select grade level winners and the Grand Prize Winner, Emily Xia, a third grader from Jacob Wismer.

Walk and Roll contest winner picture


Bikes for Kids!

SRTS partnered with WashCO Bikes to offer the Adopt-A-Bike program to three elementary schools: Fir Grove, Elmonica and Aloha-Huber Park. Thirty students were selected based on criteria, such as perfect attendance, to earn a bike, helmet, lock and light. All students attended a bike safety tutorial to learn the safety skills needed to ride their new bikes.

Children receiving bikes.

 

 

 


Get Recognized!

SRTS has two ways to recognize those who are making a difference in their communities, and the world, by promoting safe, active travel to school.

Recognition Program – Leveled achievement from bronze to platinum. SRTS has 18 schools currently registered. Find out how to register or “level up” on our webpage.

Walk + Roll Champion – A monthly recognition award. Anyone can nominate a person, group, or school. Contact us and let us know about a Walk + Roll Champion in your community!


 

School Action plans in action!

A School Action Plan is a guiding document, uniquely designed for supporting safe, active transportation within that community. Action plans identify improvements and activities that could help increase the number of students who walk, bike and bus to and from school. This tool is a persuasive way to advocate for needed projects in and around school campus’. Both Barnes and Aloha-Huber went through the SRTS Action Planning process this year. Both schools are served primarily by Washington County roads and both schools identified infrastructure and programmatic projects that would increase the number of students able to safely walk or roll to school. Sexton Mountain updated an existing Action Plan from 2016 this year. Seeing some of the same concerns and projects listed four years later, helped urge the City of Beaverton to act quickly.

"Thank you for looking out for the children and planning to make the neighborhood safe for generations to come!"

-Conestoga Middle School Parent

Barnes Elementary

SRTS is working with Washington County and interested community members on the addition of an enhanced crossing of Walker Rd. as part of the Walker Rd. Development Project.

SRTS is working with Washington County on treatment options for Ecole Ave. to decrease the amount of cut-through traffic and speed on this road.

 

 

Sexton Mountain

City of Beaverton has installed  a new crossing at Flagstone and 155th and they are currently working with the property owner to remove or cut back greenery that blocks the sightline of drivers, causing them to block this crossing for pedestrians.

The City of Beaverton also installed new signage to encourage parents and students to cross at the crosswalk and park legally along 155th Ave.

Aloha-Huber Park

SRTS is working with Washington County  to increase the very limited walkable area for this large K-8 school. An enhanced crossing across Florence St. and sidewalks along Florence St. and 175th Ave. would significantly increase the ability for students to safely walk and roll to school.

 

 


 

Families crossing with Crossing Guard

Community and District Partnerships Working Together

 

 

More Walking and Biking Improvements

SRTS is thankful for the working relationships and support of our district and community partners, which include: Washington County, the City of Beaverton, Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation (THPRD) and local enforcement agencies. Here are other infrastructure improvements from this year that will increase access to safe, active transportation: sidewalks on the west side of Ecole for Barnes, signalized school zone and 4-way controlled intersection at Kaiser and Ridgeline for Sato, sidewalks connecting Snowy Owl with the walkable area for Scholls Heights, sidewalks on 143rd for Terra Linda, sidewalks on 90th St. and Taylor St. for West TV, sidewalks on Walker Rd for Five Oaks and the completion of the THPRD Westside Trail for Stoller MS.

Crossing  Guards & Campus Traffic Safety Committee

Crossing Guards and Arrival/Dismissal Procedures are an important part of the Beaverton SRTS program. This year we created a new Crossing Guard & Campus Traffic Safety Committee to address and oversee these ongoing amenities. The committee met monthly to review each of our 151 Crossing Guard positions and locations and to create a new training program for our district Crossing Guard Program. In addition, this committee reviewed several school arrival/departure procedure maps and completed an in-depth audit of our three Action Plan Schools: Barnes, Sexton Mountain and Aloha-Huber Park.

 


Safe Routes to School Goes Virtual!

Two brothers walking/scooter

When distance learning began in late March, the need to travel to school was eliminated. However, the need to get outside and participate in physical activities like walking and biking became even more important. With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation of 60 min. of daily physical activity, the heightened stress of living through a pandemic and the increased amount of screen time needed for remote learning, SRTS saw the need for a remote guide for walking and biking. This guide was created to assist both educators and parents/caregivers to provide important safety information as well as resources for route ideas and activities to do while walking and biking. The Remote Guide for Walking and Biking, paired with several virtual Walk + Roll events, assisted our district families and teachers with options to encourage, and teach, students how to walk and bike safely, while learning from home.

 


Final Thoughts

SRTS has seen a lot of programmatic growth this year. The uncertainty of how schools will re-open in the fall will directly shape the way SRTS serves our students, schools and the community. Schools that have SRTS teams are most likely to show positive change in both parent perceptions of walking and biking opportunities and direct mode shift away from the high number of single car trips we still see traveling to schools.

Most parents continue to report traffic speed and volume as their primary reasons for not allowing their children to walk to school, though 15-25% of morning and afternoon traffic is from drivers going to and from school. Given this, the district must continue to educate and encourage families to find alternatives to driving and prioritize walking, biking, busing and carpooling when developing programs and site plans.  BSD must also continue to work with the City of Beaverton and Washington County to advocate for improved conditions on the preferred routes to our schools.

 

"The district needs to ensure continuing efforts to provide and promote safe routes for children to get to and from home.  This is an essential part of children learning responsibility, independence and physical health habits. Thank you!"

- Mountain View Middle School Parent