Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is an international movement to enable and encourage students to safely walk and bicycle to and from school. SRTS programs are the result of parents, schools, communities and government joining forces to improve the health and safety of our children, our future leaders.
SRTS programs focus on the "5E's":
- Education efforts to teach pedestrian and bicycle safety skills
- Encouragement activities to build interest and enthusiasm
- Enforcement measures to address safety issues
- Engineering solutions to maintain traffic control devices and physical infrastructure
- Evaluation methods to monitor impact and identify areas for improvement and growth
Northeast Iowa is fortunate to have a regional SRTS program, which serves over 10,000 K-8th students in Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek Counties. The Northeast Iowa SRTS Program, managed by UERPC’s Regional SRTS Coordinator, partners with the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative to increase physical activity among students and safety within our communities in many ways:
- Walking School Bus. A Walking School Bus is a group of students walking to/from school with responsible supervisors. It can take place daily, weekly or monthly.
- Remote Drop-off. This is a variation of a Walking School Bus. Students who live far from the school can be dropped off at a location away from school grounds to walk the remaining trip to school.
- Bike Rodeo. A Bike Rodeo is a popular and fun event teaching children how to properly and safely ride a bike.
- Mileage Club. Students earn rewards by walking a certain number of laps around a track, gym or school hallway. It could take place at gym class, recess or an after-school club.
- Active Classroom Learning. Sneak physical activity into classroom learning. One example is Stories in Motion, where students act out stories as they are read aloud.
- SRTS Community Coalitions. School and community advocates join forces to build SRTS efforts and increase safety measures locally.
SRTS work in Northeast Iowa is truly a unique and exciting adventure because of the region's rural setting. Historically, SRTS efforts have been designed for urban settings so the Northeast Iowa SRTS Program is really one of a kind. It is developing a rural, regional SRTS model which is paving the pathway for bringing the benefits of SRTS to rural populations all across Iowa and even the country.
Want to learn more about SRTS in Northeast Iowa? Contact Ashley Christensen, Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa at 563-382-6171.
"I am way too busy - but I enjoy this, and love the kids! If it were any other time of day I could not make it work. I am not an "earlybird" by any means, but I have really enjoyed this."
~Volunteer for morning Walking School Bus in West Union
"This was so well publicized and ran. My entire family enjoyed ourselves during the event and the kids were so excited to get practice on their big-boy bikes! I hope you continue doing it."
~Parent who attended the North Fayette Valley Bike Rodeo