Hi Readers — To see a line of cars snaking up to the door of school on a sparkling fall day is disheartening, especially when those cars disgorge perfectly able-bodied little kids who live just a few blocks away. But sometimes the problem is not parental hysteria. Sometimes, it’s that there are no crossing guards at a busy street, or no sidewalks. Safe Routes to School is a program that addresses just such issues to make it easier for kids to get THEMSELVES to school, safely. (As you might guess from its name.) Here’s a note from the deputy director there on how we can help support its efforts:
Join the Safe Routes to School “Dear Congress” campaign
The federal Safe Routes to School program is all about making sure that children can safely and independently walk and bicycle to school. With Safe Routes to School funding—which is $612 million over 5 years—communities are building sidewalks, bike paths, crosswalks, and other infrastructure improvements to make sure children have safe routes to school, separate from traffic. Safe Routes to School funding also helps teach children safe behaviors when they are walking and bicycling, and encourages more families and children to get active on the way to and from school.
Congress is currently considering reauthorizing the federal Safe Routes to School program as part of the next transportation bill. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership wants Congress to hear from children, parents, Safe Routes to School staff and volunteers, and school and city leaders about why Safe Routes to School matters to individuals and communities.
Please take a moment to write a letter about how Safe Routes to School helps your child be “Free Range.” Quick instructions are below. Write a letter that addresses the following points:
- Start your letter with “Dear Congress,”
- Thank Congress for the Safe Routes to School program
- Why it’s important to you, as a parent, that your children are able to walk and bicycle to school
- How it is important that your children walk and bicycle to school every year, up through high school, to build healthy habits
- (if applicable) How Safe Routes to School has helped make it safer or easier for your child to walk and bicycle to school
- What kinds of infrastructure improvements are needed in your community to improve safety for your children on their way to school
- See if your children want to participate – ask them to draw a picture or write a short letter (crayon is ok!) about why they love walking and bicycling to school.
- Make sure you put your mailing address on the letter so that it can be matched with your Congressional district.
- Send your letters to Margo Pedroso with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership by September 24, 2009. You can scan and email electronic versions to email@example.com. Or you can mail letters to: Margo Pedroso, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, P.O. Box 442328, Fort Washington, MD 20749.
- Do not send your letters directly to your Members of Congress; the Partnership will bundle your letters together with those from other families and deliver to Congress as a package to have the strongest impact.
- Pass the word to other individuals and organizations you know through e-mail chains and list-servs.
Thank you so much for your help in making sure that Safe Routes to School continues—and is able to get more children walking and bicycling to and from school! If you need additional information, please visit http://www.saferoutespartnership.org/national/299443 or contact Margo Pedroso with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership at firstname.lastname@example.org .
That’s it! Sounds good to me — Lenore