Safe Routes to School

Safe Routes to School

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":

  1. Education efforts to teach pedestrian and bicycle safety skills
  2. Encouragement activities to build interest and enthusiasm
  3. Enforcement measures to address safety issues
  4. Engineering solutions to maintain traffic control devices and physical infrastructure
  5. 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


News Headlines

The FruitGuys Community Fund

Posted: Tue, December 16, 2014

The FruitGuys Community Fund offers funding to support sustainability projects for small to mid-size farms. A primary goal of the fund is to help farms and orchards operate more sustainably and to promote advocacy that, over the long term, creates a more sustainable food system and healthier planet. Applications must be received by February 16, 2015.

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Iowa Safe Routees to School Annual Meeting

Posted: Mon, December 8, 2014

The Iowa Safe Routes to School meeting will take place on January 24, 2014 from 8:30-10:00 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. We will have two guest speakers and the theme of our meeting will focus on the best practices for building walking school bus programs.

Our first speakers, Pam Hoogerwerf, Director for Community Outreach and Injury Prevention University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and Dr. Cara Hamann, a postdoc and injury epidemiologist for the Injury Prevention Research Center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Pam and Dr. Hamann will discuss their upcoming project, Pedal PORTAL pilot, a naturalistic bicycling study conducted in Iowa that utilized GPS-enabled helmet cameras to capture the bicycling experience of children and adults. Results presented will include descriptions of typical riding patterns, differences between adults and children, and rates of errors, near crashes, and crashes.

Ashley Christensen serves as the Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa and is dedicated to increasing physical activity levels among youth by enabling and encouraging students to safely walk and bicycle to and from school and in daily life. Ashley will review her guide on 10 Steps to Creating a Rural, Regional Safe Routes to School Program.

During the last part of our meeting we will be discussing Walking School Buses: Best Practices. We hope to have Walking School Bus Coordinators from around the state come to share their best practices. This is a great networking opportunity for individuals and communities to share their stories with successes and hurdles. Come sit with us and let's compare our notes on our sustainable Walking School Bus Programs.

Let’s explore our mutual mission by expanding the importance of Safe Routes to School. This meeting is a fantastic opportunity to network while growing lasting partnerships and to change the state of Iowa one safe route at a time.

For more information on the Iowa Safe Routes to School program and to register for this free meeting, please visit http://iowasaferoutes.org/ or contact Alana Croco (alana@iowabicyclecoalition.org).

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Let the Bike Rack Challenge Begin!

Posted: Fri, November 21, 2014

Thanks to generous support from the Allamakee County Community Foundation (ACCF) and the Depot Outlet, the 2015 Bike Rack Challenge will again take place this coming spring!

The Bike Rack Challenge, a project organized by UERPC’s Northeast Iowa Safe Routes to School Program and the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative, encourages biking to school and other community destinations through youth creativity, skill and leadership. Bike racks ultimately benefit the health of individuals, communities and the environment by providing a secure bike parking location, which helps people get around better by bike.

Each spring, high school industrial technology classes are challenged to construct a usable bike rack for their school or other community location using as much recycled material as possible. Classes have from January until May to design and construct their bike rack.

Again, many thanks to the ACCF and the Depot Outlet for supporting this fun, challenging and rewarding project for students and for supporting community wellness and community betterment for years to come!

Northeast Iowa schools can still sign up for the Bike Rack Challenge! Click below to learn more or contact Ashley Christensen:  563-382-6171 or achristensen@uerpc.org.

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UERPC November Newsletter

Posted: Mon, November 17, 2014

Some of the headlines you can read about this month:

  • Iowa DOT Switches Into Winter Mode
  • Employee Spotlight-Michaela Collins
  • USDA Invests in Small and Emerging Rural Businesses and Rural Transportation
  • IowaWorks-Did you Know?
  • Legislative Event
  • Eating Healthy While Managing Holiday Stress
  • UERPC Spreads Its Wings
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