A few weeks ago, the Colorado Safe Routes to School State Network convened to contemplate this very question. Dave Cowan, of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, kicked the meeting off with a status update of funding for SRTS from the new federal transportation bill passed earlier this spring. Long (and rather complicated) story short, funding for biking and walking initiatives has taken a large cut overall (from $1.2 billion in 2011 reduced to $800 million for 2012 in the current transportation bill) and the Safe Routes to School Program no longer has dedicated federal funding (in 2011 $182 million was dedicated directly to SRTS). According to Dave, "This means that Safe Routes to School projects will compete in a combined funding pot with other bicycling and walking projects as well as the new eligibilities of environmental mitigation and boulevard construction. What does this mean? It means that in order to successfully compete, potential Safe Routes to School projects will need to be leaner, meaner and more effective than ever!" It also means that momentum for SRTS will have to come from state, local, and grassroots efforts. Read more of Dave's take on the new transportation bill in his article Who Moved My Cheese?
The good news is that Colorado has an excellent history of supporting SRTS. Marissa Robinson of the Colorado Department of Transportation, shared with the audience that CDOT has already administered $14 million in grants to date and that Colorado is a leader in SRTS. In fact, one in seven Colorado schools participates in International Walk to School Day, placing us second in the nation, behind Mississippi (really? surely we can beat Mississippi this year!). Also Colorado is home to two James L. Oberstar award winning schools, Bear Creek Elementary and Heatherwood Elementary, both in Boulder. This is the highest award a school can receive for outstanding SRTS efforts and it has only been awarded fives times nationwide (impressive that Colorado has clenched it twice)! But, Marissa also emphasized the need for grassroots efforts in Colorado to keep up our momentum.
Partial repost with permission from Flatironbike.com. Please go there to read the full article
Two bicyclists have been killed at the intersection of US-36 and Violet Avenue since 2009. The most recent was TJ Doherty, on July 24th, 2012. Both cyclists were headed southeast on US-36, and were hit by cars traveling northwest, making left turns onto Violet. In this area US-36 is just outside of Boulder’s city limits, in the county, but it’s the Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) that’s responsible for it. Looking at the aerial view below we can explore why this intersection might be particularly dangerous for cyclists.
Northwest bound vehicles on US-36 have a dedicated left turn lane, and no obligation to stop before making their turn. The angle that Violet Ave. makes with the highway is quite oblique, meaning that it can be taken at high speed, and because US-36 has a speed limit of 55 mph in this area, cars often will take it at high speed if they don’t see any oncoming traffic.
Born out of the recent Boulder Safe Streets Report that came out this past Febuary, a campaign to help improve safety at crosswalks is moving forward. According to the study 39% of all bike/auto accidents happen at crosswalks.
From pg 5 of the Safety Report
The new Heads Up, Mind the Crosswalk Campaign is to educate users of how these crosswalks work because by far the majority of the communities we grew up in crosswalks were non-existent or just white paint on pavement.