Walk.Bike.Schools! Building & Growing Active Seattle Schools
!News: It’s Back to School Season! Help kids in your community take part by starting a bike-to-school program, volunteering with an existing program, or just getting out and riding with a kid!
BY TIM K
- Getting Started
- Biking to School Resources and Links
- Walking to School Resources and Links
- About our Group
Welcome to Walk.Bike.Schools!. We’re a loose collection of Seattle- (for now!) area parents and school community neighbors interested in growing the use of active transportation (walking, biking, skating, scootering, etc…) in Seattle Schools. If you’ve landed here, you probably have similar aims. Please explore this site, our blog posts, and downloadable resources and see if we can be any help. To get you started, here are a few things we hope you’ll find useful.
Getting Started Resources
The first place to begin is with Walk.Bike.Schools!’ “How to Start a School Active Transportation program” guide. A long-time Active School Transportation Parent shares the advice and info she wishes was available when the program was started at Bryant Elementary. Anne discusses program scope and strategy (are you a bike heavy program? Walk? Both?), and provides introductions to funding options, partnering essentials (with parents and administration), and communication.
Next, Make sure you join the Walk.Bike.Schools! Discussion Group. This is our email list on the Google Groups. You can ask questions and share ideas, tips, successes and failures (yes, we want to hear about those, too). The group is the first place we announce meetings and events. (note: Google has updated our group to their “new” groups format. You won’t be be shown the “join group!” link unless you are logged into a Google account. If you have trouble logging in, email email@example.com and we’ll get you added. )
Ready for more? Try some of these Getting Started resources:
- Read Getting Started with your program: Over on the Walk.Bike.Schools! blog, Clint Loper gives provides an enthusiastic rundown on event ideas for a new programs.
- Dig into the Seattle Department of Transportation Safe Routes to Schools mini grant program. This program is the key funding mechanism employed by many of our programs. Virtually all of the successes reported by Walk.Bike.Schools! members is due in large part to dollars (for prizes, infrastructure, publicity, etc) from this program. While we recommend developing a working relationship (and funding) from your PTA, the mini-grant program remains the go-to option for Seattle School communities as they develop and maintain their active transportation programs.
- View the Seattle Schools Active Transportation Page: Oh, wait. This page doesn’t exist. The closest reference is the district’s general transportation page, which includes a link to transportation & walk zones and a general transportation FAQ. Go ahead and read through all that, but don’t you think they should do better? If you’d like to see more active transportation leadership from the Seattle Schools, please tell your board members and Superintendent Banda to create and maintain active transportation information on the district web site!
- Get some ideas for Planning Events (a post on the Walk.Bike.Schools blog)
- Find out more about the funding options by scanning Walk.Bike.Schools! Blog Posts on Funding and Grants (this returns a list of all Walk.Bike.Schools blog posts tagged “funding”).
- Download sample Min-Grant Applications and Reports submitted by Walk.Bike.Schools! members. (if you’d like to share an application or report, contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Check out other Downloadable Program Resources (such as Walking School Bus rules, Bike Rodeo planning guides, Bike-rack Installation Application, and more) shared by Walk.Bike.Schools! volunteer members. (if you’d like to share yours, contact email@example.com)
- Find out about the Safe Routes to School National program.
- Visit the Washington Center for Safe Routes to School.
Bike Resources and Links
- Bike to School Resources Page on Walk.Bike.Schools! – samples and examples of programs, grant applications, and reports from Walk.Bike.School contributing schools
- Read about Bike Train programs on our Blog (returns all post tagged BikeTrains on the Walk.Bike.Schools! blog).
- The Bicycle Alliance of Washington provides state-wide support to growing bicycle use. The also sponsor a 5th-Grade Bike Poster contest. Working with FeetFirst, they support the Washington Center for Safe Routes to School.
- The Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation provides organizational support for Bike to School month and other training and instruction services all year long
- The League of American Cyclists provides a solid library of bike training videos.
- Bike to School Resources Page on WalkBikeSchools – samples and examples of programs, grant applications, and reports from Walk.Bike.School contributing schools
- Feet First: Walking-centric state-wide group with fantastic Safe Routes to School resources. Feet First is a key resource for any school planning a walking event or program!
- Seattle Schools Walk-zone Maps
- National and International Walk to School Information. Interestingly, all of these are run by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Having multiple websites for one program can =make finding information a bit confusing, but the volume and quality of resources might make it worth your research effort.
And more resources coming. Watch here and our Resources section as we build our collection of downloadable tips, program examples, how-to content, and grant application samples. Everything on Walk.Bike.Schools is developed and contributed by volunteers. So If you’ve created resources for your walking and biking programs consider sharing with the community. Post your ideas on the discussion group or contact Tim King via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can share content from your Seattle walking/biking program.
Who/What is Walk.Bike.Schools! ?
Walk.Bike.Schools! is first and foremost a parent group. We invite any interested parent who cares about walking and biking to school to join and participate. We also welcome neighbors of a school to participate [and members of a school staff/faculty]. Schools and neighborhoods should work together to encourage walking and biking to school.
Other kid-focused transportation groups often attend meetings and can participate in the conversation surrounding walking and biking to school. From Bicycle Alliance, to SDOT, to Feet First, to Cascade Bicycle Club, to Undriving, to members of the Pedestrian Advisory Board, the Bicycle Advisory Board and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways (Did I miss any?), we’ve had some great info sharing sessions. If you are a member of a group that cares about encouraging kids and families to walk and bike to school, you too are welcome to to attend our meetings. We will all likely have opportunities for collaboration.
To participate in the conversation, join the Walk.Bike.Schools! email list on Google Groups (Note: Google has updated our group their “new” groups format. You won’t be be shown the “Join Group!” link unless you are logged into a Google account. If you have trouble logging in, email email@example.com and we’ll get you added to the group.)