Help Out With Trailblazing Bike Train Research!

Hello!

After a year of life without bike trains, I am back on board with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on a bike train research project. I am really excited to be working on a project that will determine the impact of physical activity (namely biking) on the health of school children. Our results will help inform kids, parents, teachers and organizers of the benefits of biking to school.

And right now we need your help! We are in the preliminary equipment testing stage and are looking for about 40 kids ages 9-12 who can ride a bike to spend about 1.5 hours with us at a Seattle park or community center. Each kid will wear an accelerometer, GPS, and heart rate monitor while completing various simple physical activities. You and your child’s information will be completely confidential and anonymity of research participants will be protected. Participants will be rewarded with $30 for their time.  

Image

Contact Maya for more information

If you are interested please contact me. Your participation is REALLY helpful and will be GREATLY appreciated. Email me (Maya) at: maya.jacobs@seattlechildrens.org.

 

Advertisements

Event Report: Walk to School Month at West Woodland

bike fairy fall 13 (Small)by Polly Freeman, West Woodland Elementary

For the month of October, West Woodland students tracked their non-driving trips to school (biking, walking, scootering, bussing) on spreadsheets outside each classroom door.

walkie award at West WoodlandOn International Walk to School Day, we met walkers and bikers outside the school with free breadsticks donated by Great Harvest Bakery. We moved away from giving small trinkets as incentives this year—instead, two high-participating classrooms (K-2 and 3-5) received the first annual “Walkie” award – a golden tennis shoe mounted on a decorative base created by one of our artistic parents and her team of junior artists.

Also, five top walkers and wheelers received headlamps donated by Second Ascent. Winning classes and individuals were recognized during a monthly all-school announcement over the intercom, which reinforced their participation and honored them in front of their peers.we met walkers and bikers outside the school with free breadsticks donated by Great Harvest Bakery.

The “Bike Fairy” was also spotted during Walk and Wheel Month, “catching” walking and wheeling students, and awarding them Hershey’s Kisses and stickers that say, “I got Kissed by the Bike Fairy.”

Kids remembered the Bike Fairy from last year, and were thrilled to spot the Fairy as they walked to and from school.

Breadsticks this Way!

Walking and Biking and (new) Seattle School Boundaries

Unless you’ve been successfully avoiding all local news and social media (and if so, congratulations), you’ll know the Seattle School District is in the process of redrawing neighborhood school attendance boundaries.

The changes are being driven by a number of real issues—overcrowding, bus routes & schedules, expected demographics, remodeling and construction plans, and so on. And some of these changes are positive, designed to provide relief to schools nearly bursting at the seams. However others are less positive and potentially could take kids away from a walkable neighborhood attendance area, requiring a bus or car trip to school instead.
For details on how these changes can impact walkable communities, make sure you check out Feet First‘s blog post calling the district add another criteria to their school zone plans: Walkability.
The Seattle School District is in the process of changing elementary and middle school boundaries to respond to capacity needs and demographic projections. To succeed in the important task of drawing school boundaries for the greatest benefit of students, Feet First joins a growing number of communities in insisting an additional factor be taken into consideration: walkability. – Feet First

SPS Growth Boundaries Survey

As an organization, Walk.Bike.Schools doesn’t have the staffing or resources to evaluate the plans and changes for each and every school and neighborhood. (In fact we have no staffing or organization, but that’s another post).
We do however, come down solidly on the side of any family who feels their the district is removing the opportunity to attend a local, walkable or bikeable school.
Therefore I urge you (and your friends and neighbors!) to review the district’s maps & proposals to make sure these changes work for you. And then please speak up if you find changes in the plan that would hinder the ability for a child or family to walk or bike to school!
For this issue, the district is recommending use of the survey for feedback. Please share this tool with friends, neighbors and school community members. The survey is open until Oct. 21. If you have questions about the plan you can contact GrowthBoundaries@

seattleschools.org or the board at schoolboard@seattleschools.org

 Next Steps
  • Provide Survey Feedback through Oct.21.
  • Revised recommendations will go to the School Board at the November 6, 2013, board meeting.
  • Board will vote on the recommended boundaries at its meeting on November 20, 2013.

Recap of Fall Info Sharing Meeting

Folks from 9 schools and several other organizations attended the information sharing session earlier this month. Many other folks expressed interest, but couldn’t make it due to a variety of conflicts. This time of year is especially busy in the school communities!

The major topics we discussed included:

Ballard Bikes
The new Ballard Bikes program is a multi-school collaboration to get kids biking and walking to school at several Ballard schools (currently seven). The focus is on year-round encouragement and sharing of resources, as well as creating a “bigger buzz” about active commuting in Ballard. The schools have already co-hosted a bike rodeo at the Ballard Neighborhood Greenway opening, and are holding a bike to school kick-off event on September 28 at Salmon Bay K-8.

International Walk to School Month and IWalk
October is International Walk to School Month. All local schools are encouraged to participate. One way to get plugged in is through Feet First, which has many resources available to help plan and run events. Schools can use a variety of approaches, ranging from a single day event, to weekly or month-long events to encourage walking to school. Wednesday, October 9, is International Walk to School Day. To register an IWalk event, go to http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/node/add/event.

SDOT Mini-grants
It is almost mini-grant season. Last year 29 schools and organizations received grants — a record year! At the meeting, Seattle Department of Transportation requested input on the size of grants, the outreach flyer they are using, etc. There was no shortage of ideas; two good ones were (1) to consider changing the timing of the annual grant program so it coincides with the school year, and (2) to augment the existing annual grant program with smaller “quick start” type grants so that new schools could apply any time. The tentative date for applications for 2014 funding is October 25.
School Road Safety Initiative
The City of Seattle’s School Road Safety Initiative involves both planning and implementation to improve traffic safety in and near school zones. The major elements are a city-wide plan, traffic safety plans around twenty schools, and Safe Routes to School projects. The work will address all five “E’s” of Safe Routes to School — engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation.  Funding for both planning and implementation is coming from traffic speed cameras installed in school zones, and currently $14.8 million is anticipated for 2013-14., with a mayor proposed list of projects under review at this time as well.
Folks in attendance shared information on a few other upcoming events and initiatives as well, including tonight’s Green Your School Fair at Lincoln High School.
Thanks to all who could attend, and to everyone else who expressed interest as well. Here’s to another year of walking and biking to school!

 

Fall 2013 Walk and Bike to School Info Session

Parents, teachers, staff, and students across Seattle are beginning another school year. As the instruction and extracurricular activities begin, parents are also planning the school commutes that take tens of thousands of Seattle kids from where they live to where they learn. So It’s a great time to get the creative juices flowing and share ideas for helping more of our kids choose active and sustainable transportation for this coming year.

Come meet with other walk and bike to school organizers and advocates next Tuesday and get things rolling for another school year.

Fall 2013 Info Sharing Session

Tuesday, September 10, from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m.
Ballard branch, Seattle Public Library, 5614 22nd Ave NW

Are you a Safe Routes to School organizer at your local school? A parent interested in starting a program? A community member interested in what the buzz is about and maybe wanting to lend a hand? This meeting is for you.

Next Tuesday evening will be an opportunity to share updates, ideas, and plans for ramping up walking and biking this year.

The agenda will include:

  • “Ballard Bikes” multi-school walk and bike to school plans
  • Creative ideas from individual schools to get more kids walking and biking (share yours with others!)
  • A report from Feet First on October Walk to School Month
  • A report from SDOT on upcoming Safe Routes to School mini-grant opportunities
  • The latest on the School Road Safety Task Force

This event is open to everyone in the community who is interested in increasing walking and biking to Seattle schools. Hope you can join us and please spread the word.

Their are good options for getting to the Ballard library by bike, on foot, or on public transportation. There is bike parking out front and the library is near several bus routes. If you drive, you can park for free in the garage underneath.

Seattle has seen continuing growth in the number of schools promoting active transportation, and in the number of families choosing to commute to school under their own power. Let’s work together to maintain the momentum in 2013-14!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

West Woodland Bike Rodeo Rides Again!

A bike rodeo is a safe and supportive place to get the youngest riders started

A bike rodeo is a safe and supportive place to get even the youngest riders started

guest post by Polly Freeman

Beating the odds on the weather, 65 cyclists and their families enjoyed an afternoon of bike riding at the West Woodland bike rodeo Sunday, April 28. Each cyclist got a helmet fit check before testing their skills at six stations and snacking on fruit and breadsticks. The bike safety check area was bustling with volunteers pumping tires, checking brakes and more. Fourteen cyclists also took home new low-cost helmets, custom-fitted by our volunteers, thanks to the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation. A dozen riders ventured out on two “urban” rides supported by Cascade Bike Club staff.

Everyone who completed the stations earned their choice of cool stickers, water bottles and patch kits courtesy of Gregg’s Cycles and Free Range Cycles. All riders were also entered in a drawing for NiteIze bike lights.

Thank you so much to our 20 dedicated parent volunteers, veterans and newbies alike, who make the bike rodeo possible – and fun! We rely on West Woodlan staff support and also thank our sponsors and donors, especially Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation, Gregg’s Cycles, Free Range Cycles, Great Harvest and Ballard Market.

Editors note: Reports like this are trickling in as schools around Seattle kick off Bike to School Month this year. Bike rodeos and other kickoff event were held at several schools last week, with more today and next week too. West Woodland is experienced at this, and Polly is too (her fifth bike rodeo!). They’ve worked out the bugs, and hopefully some of their approaches will be useful to others.

West Woodland Bike Rodeo Rider

Bike to School Month is Almost Here!

Sacajawea bikersReady for Bike to School Month? May 1st is right around the corner.

If you’re not fully prepared, don’t panic. Folks at other schools are still hatching their plans too. May sneaks up on us every year, and this year is no different.

And this year Bike to School Day is May 8th — earlier in the month than usual. So now is prime time for finalizing plans to get more kids biking at your school this spring.

Maybe you want to put together a month-long program. Or perhaps a one-day activity on Bike to School Day. Or maybe you’re thinking of once-a-week activities — maybe Bike to School Fridays with something planned each week.

Any of these approaches are great, and in fact many established programs started small. Even a modest Bike to School Day event can begin to create a bike culture at your school.

The primary purpose of walk.bike.schools is to share information among schools — tips and techniques, including what has worked at other schools. So if you’re planning some bike to school activities for May and beyond, hopefully the following links to some past posts will be useful.

And if getting kids walking is more your thing, that’s cool too. May is also an awesome time to walk to school!

Without further ado, here are links to some posts that focus on various aspects of putting together a bike or walk to school day, month, or longer term program:

The Big Picture

Some specific ideas

Highlights from a few schools

And some walk to school ideas

Hope this is helpful as you gear up for May and the rest of the spring. Let us know how it goes!

Let's fill the bike racks at every Seattle school this May!

Let’s fill the bike racks at every Seattle school this May!