Updated August 15, 2017
Minnesota’s annual Walk to School Day is coming soon. Register today and MnDOT will send marketing posters, educational bookmarks and stickers (on a first come, first serve basis) to hand out the day of the big event.
It’s time to start planning event details at your school! The National Center for Safe Routes to School developed this helpful guide to get you started with planning a Walk to School Day event, including steps for planning, event ideas, safety tips and more. Starting a walking school bus (PDF) is another way to get involved with Walk to School Day and benefit the students in your community or neighborhood. Don’t forget to register your Walk to School Day event to ensure it is added to the ‘Who’s Walking Map’.
We would love to see what Walk to School Day looks like at your school! We’ll be holding our second annual Walk to School Day photo contest. Submit your photos the day of on the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Facebook page with the hashtag #mnwalks and you will be entered to win prizes for your school.
During our most recent legislative session, the Minnesota legislature allocated one million dollars toward Safe Routes to School infrastructure projects. The guidelines and application are currently being developed for a solicitation that will open this fall. Make sure your community is ready by reviewing the new eligibility language (PDF) that was amended to the state SRTS program in 2015 under Minnesota Statute 174.40. The new language requires communities to adopt subdivision regulations that require SRTS infrastructure in developments authorized on or after June 1, 2016.
You can review our FAQ on the topic here (PDF).
Walking on and crossing high traffic roads consistently rates as one of the top three barriers that parents say prevent them from allowing their child to walk or bike to school. Having a volunteer or paid crossing guard to help students cross the street is a quick and easy solution to this issue – if you can train them.
Many schools, both rural and urban, lack the internal resources to train and manage crossing guards. In an effort to make training more widely available across the state, Minnesota Safe Routes to School and MnDOT created an online crossing guard training*. Made up of seven learning modules, schools can use the online training to provide a standard minimum amount of guidance to volunteer or paid crossing guards wishing to better understand how Minnesota laws impact their work.
Explore the new, online and interactive crossing guard training.
*A special thank you to the Minneapolis Safe Routes to School program for helping the development team pull together volunteers, locations for video and general enthusiasm for the project!
We're happy to announce the grant recipients of Safe Routes to School planning assistance! Here's a snippet from our news release that went out today:
The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced the recipients of $250,000 in grants for Safe Routes to School planning assistance.
Safe Routes to School is an international program to increase physical activity, improve health and reduce traffic congestion around schools by making it safer and easier for students to walk and bicycle to school. Planning assistance grants provide communities the resources to convene a team, prioritize strategies and identify solutions.
Regional partners were selected from across Minnesota to administer grants in their region.
“Hundreds of schools across the state are now supporting the Safe Routes to School program and increasing opportunities for children to walk and bike to school,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “More students walking and biking means less traffic on the road and near schools, improving safety and promoting healthier kids.”
MnDOT announced the available planning assistance grants in November 2016. The agency received applications from more than 100 schools and awarded 15 grants to 38 schools.
The Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are funded with state and federal Safe Routes to School dollars.
Since 2005, MnDOT awarded nearly $20 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for programs and planning that promote walkable and bikeable communities.
The list of grant recipients is below.
Safe Routes to School 2017 Planning Assistance Awards:
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota communities and schools wanting to develop safer routes for students to walk and bicycle to school can apply for planning assistance grants through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program. Application deadline is March 3.
“Planning assistance grants are the first step for communities to assess their current conditions for walking and bicycling to school and decide what they need to effectively implement a Safe Routes to School program,” said Dave Cowan, SRTS coordinator. “After a plan is developed, schools and communities use this blueprint to apply for funds to advance infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and signage, and non-infrastructure solutions such as educational programming, events and enforcement.”
The planning process works to engage stakeholders, analyze existing data and set a prioritized list of strategies to make it safer and easier for youth to walk and bicycle to school.
Plans are completed by regional development organizations or a statewide SRTS consultant.
Cowan said nationally, walking and bicycling to school is on the decline, decreasing from 48 percent of students in 1969 to 13 percent in 2009.
“Safe Routes to School planning can help communities design strategies to get students to walk and bicycle to school again,” he said.
Since 2006, MnDOT has worked with communities around the state to fund nearly 300 schools’ plans to develop and advance safe routes to school.
For more information, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us/saferoutes/planning-grants.html
This is Minnesota, the land of snowmobiling, ice fishing, hockey, cross-country skiing and fat biking – why wouldn’t we throw a Walk and Bike to School Day party in the middle of the winter? The 10th anniversary of Winter Walk Day is February 1, 2017 and this year Minnesota is in for the celebration. Find out more here.
This year Minnesota Safe Routes to School is sponsoring a Walk to School Day Photo Contest. On Wednesday, October 5th, take pictures of your students walking or bicycling to school and post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #mnwalks. The photos that receive the most likes by October 14th will win $25 gift cards! Learn more here.
On Wednesday, Oct 5, hundreds of schools and thousands of Minnesota students, parents and community members will walk and bicycle to school in celebration of Walk to School Day. Walk to School Day provides students and families the opportunity to reconnect with the simple joys of walking to school while reaping the benefits of increased physical activity, reduced traffic congestion, and arriving at school ready to learn. Getting involved can be as simple as making an announcement to over the school intercom or as involved as coordinating a neighborhood walk with your elected officials, parents, teachers, and community members. Either approach is fun and educational for students, parents and community members alike. Read more here.
More than 16,000 Minnesota youth will benefit from the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School grants that support pedestrian and bicycle safety education in schools.
Bicycle fleets, trailers and supplies were awarded to the Northwest Regional Development Commission in Warren, St. Cloud Area Public School District and Willmar Community Education and Recreation. Awardees estimate the three fleets will be used in 42 schools, scout groups, 4-H clubs, parks and recreation and after school programs. Read more about the awards here.
Pedaling a bicycle can create some of childhood’s happiest moments, and we want to capture that. This year, Minnesota Safe Routes to School is holding its first ever, Bike to School Day Poster Contest. Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Quality Bicycle Products and Dero, the Poster Contest asks participants to design an 8.5 x 11 poster that shows how they feel when they ride a bicycle. Age categories include K– 4th and 5th - 8th. Poster contest winners will receive their choice of several Dero products (including a bike rack, public bike pump, and more) for placement at their school. Contest entries must be submitted by April 20th.
MnDOT and MN SRTS are pleased to support Bike to School Day (BTSD) this year. Learn more about our efforts to support BTSD on our Bike to School Day page including an upcoming Poster Contest, valuable BTSD marketing tools, and the provision of Bike to School Day toolkits for schools that register for the event at www.walkbiketoschool.org.
This May Cycles for Change is hosting the national Youth Bike Summit, a three-day national conference that brings together educators, advocates, activists, students, teenagers, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and community leaders to engage around youth, bicycles, education, and advocacy. The Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Safe Routes to School are proud sponsors of the 6th annual Youth Bike Summit and are offering ten $390 scholarships to support youth participants. (covering most of the costs associated with attending the summit)
The summit will be held here in Minnesota at Macalester College in Saint Paul May 27th-29th, 2016. Scholarships will be awarded to youth in Minnesota who are actively connected to the Safe Routes to School initiative and priority will be given to those outside the Twin Cities metro area. Apply now.
Visit the MnDOT SRTS website for more details on planning and infrastructure grants available this fall.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Health have teamed up to develop a statewide pedestrian plan and we want to know what teens think! We’re all pedestrians – whether it’s walking to/from school each day, or just across a parking lot. YOU have something important to say and we want to hear it!
We’re interested in discussing what would make walking easier, safer and more attractive to teens. There are a couple of ways for teens to get involved in this discussion:
Learn more about statewide SRTS strategies in the 2015 SRTS strategic plan (PDF). How did it come about? Beginning in the fall of 2014, MnDOT convened a diverse group of stakeholders from agencies and organizations around the state to develop a Minnesota SRTS Strategic Plan. Participants included representatives from Minnesota State departments of health, transportation, and education; city and county government; regional development commissions; public safety; traffic safety; schools and school districts; non-profits; and health organizations.
Working through four interactive workshops and a series of online surveys between November 2014 and February 2015, the strategic planning participants developed a vision and value statements for the state SRTS program, and five-year goals, strategies, and action steps. The plan includes approaches to public outreach, marketing and education for SRTS initiatives throughout the state of Minnesota, and strategies for developing and implementing SRTS plans and programs.