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Updated March 29, 2018

Bike to School Day is Coming May 9: Register and Use our Marketing Toolsphoto of principal riding kid's bike

We want to make your Bike to School day as fun and easy as possible! The nationally celebrated event encourages kids to bike to school and shows families just how wonderful it is to get to school by bike or foot. Last year we saw over 225 schools participating across the state and we’d love to see more.  

Let us support your event, but first, register your school online. Schools that register by Friday, April 30 will receive posters, stickers, bookmarks and spoke cards to help promote the big event (while supplies last).

Check out our new Bike to School Day marketing kit, full of social media posts, posters, flyers, sample text for news/announcements and more.  Follow us on Facebook for great ideas and articles leading up to the event.

Last year schools got creative with each of them doing their own fun promotional events: bike rodeos, free breakfast for participants, raffle prizes, drop-off zones for kids to bike to school, bike rides with parent chaperones, bike maintenance clinics, free healthy snacks, high-visibility t-shirt giveaways, bike swap, videos of the students biking and more.

A few resources to jump start your planning:

Cover all bases while planning bike trains (groups of students riding together to school) with this great resource!

Quickly and easily teach important bicycle safety skills with these tools from the Walk!Bike!Fun! Ambassador’s Guide (pg. 14-22).

Lots of students that bus? That’s okay; use our Bus Stop and Walk Organizer’s Guide to get everyone moving.

Register. Seriously. It’ll help!

What will your community do? If it is your first year, check out some simple tips to get going, make sure you get registered and use our materials to plan an excellent event. 

Our bike to school poster contest is back, enter to win!imge of last year's poster winner

For the third year, students in grades K-8 are invited to enter the Minnesota Safe Routes to School’s Bike to School poster contest. Entry deadline is the end of the day, Wednesday, May 2.

Students should design an 8.5 by 11 inch poster (using our template – K-4 or 5-8) that shows how they feel when they ride a bike.

Complete contest information, including classroom lesson plans for classroom teachers, is at www.mndot.gov/mnsaferoutes/programs/poster_contest.html. Winners will receive their choice of several bicycle products, including a bike rack and public bike pump, for placement at their school.

“Pedaling a bike can create some of childhood’s happiest moments and we want to capture that,” said Dave Cowan, Safe Routes to School coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Winners will be announced prior to the national Bike to School Day on May 9. Prizes will be provided as part of a partnership with MnDOT, Minnesota SRTS, Quality Bicycle Products and Dero Bike Racks.

Funding and Resource Opportunities

AARP Quick Action Grants fund projects that build momentum for local change to improve livability for all residents. Apply by May 16 and find out more.

 

2018 Golden Snow Boot Award

 

kids walkingin the morning snow

Each Winter Walk to School Day Minnesota Safe Routes to School asks participating schools to submit stories and photos of their event to compete for the MnSRTS Golden Snow Boot Award. This year’s submissions were full of great photos and stories of students all over the state getting out, being active and having fun in the cold. The selection committee was astounded by the variety of activities submitted for the coveted Golden Snow Boot. After much deliberation, the 2018 Golden Snow Boot is awarded to .........

kids walking in snow

MACCRAY West AND East of Maynard, MN! A fantastic collaboration between two schools that sit 16 miles apart, MACCRAY West and East got out in the -22 wind-chill, engaged important partners from around the community and most importantly had lots of fun. Read more on MACCRAY's Winter Walk to School Day event below, and thank you to everyone who got out in the snowy, freezing weather!

"MACCRAY West and East partnered together with Kandiyohi/Renville and Countryside SHIP to increase physical activity and provide a safe environment for kids to walk to school on their first Winter Walk to School Day! MACCRAY West was supported by Maynard Fire Department, Maynard First Responders, Clara City P.D., Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department, and MN State Trooper- as well as teachers, staff, and SHIP. All of these partners created an exciting environment to walk the kids to school.

Every kid had a smile on their face- as well as the volunteers that helped make this such an amazing opportunity. It may have been -3 degrees out and -22 degrees with wind-chill, but that didn’t stop this rural community. We arrived to Maynard Event Center with city staff cleaning off sidewalks from snow; the Fire Department, Clara City PD, and Chippewa County Sheriff blocking the streets from traffic, and many students showing up with “Walk and Talk,” “Stride & Pride” and Supported by SHIP Signs!

Three buses were unloaded at the Event Center and parent drop off for MACCRAY West. Busloads (75 kids) took on the streets of Maynard and walked to the school. Firefighters, SHIP, First Responders, teachers, and the deputy sheriff walked side by side. Students were laughing, holding hands, smiling, and having a great start to their morning. The students and volunteers were surprised when they turned the corner to the last block and a state trooper was greeting and blocking traffic towards the school. The kids were welcomed to school with hot cocoa as they chanted the MACCRAY Pride song, ready to start their day. The community of Maynard surely made each one of those kids’ day. The pride this rural community was surely outreached beyond love today!"

Opportunities

Apply to pilot test new Safe Routes to School Evaluation Tools - The Minnesota Safe Routes to School Steering Committee has developed new tools to evaluate Safe Routes to School and is looking for volunteers to pilot test the tools at schools in March and April. More information on the tools is available on the Safe Routes to School Resource Center (see February 2018 slides and recording). To apply, complete a short application by Monday, March 5. Questions? Contact health.ship.eval@state.mn.us.

The Safe Routes to Parks Action Program is currently accepting applications for awards for 10 grantee communities in 2018. An additional 10 awards will be made in 2019. As part of the awards, funding and technical assistance will be provided to support the development of action plans and implementation steps to improve safe and equitable park access.

The Walk!Bike!Fun! host application closes on Feb. 28 for this spring. Submit your application soon!

The Specialized Foundation is accepting applications for its School Grant Program’s Riding for Focus Grant. Learn more about the program.

Walking School Bus Study - Each year, Walking School Bus programs across the country get kids active while getting them to and from school, providing numerous benefits. Yet, very little is known about what makes these programs successful. If you currently coordinate a Walking School Bus program at a single school or at multiple schools, please help us learn more about your important work by completing a survey. Those who are eligible and complete the survey will receive a $10-25 e-gift card. The survey will take about 10-20 minutes to complete. Complete the survey

 

Minnesota Winter Walk and Bike to School Day is Feb. 7 – Will Your School Win the Golden Boot Award?


In some states, when the weather gets iffy, so does the walking and bicycling – but in Minnesota we accept the challenge! Winter Walk to School day is an important reminder that ice, snow and cold only mean your walk to school is MORE fun, MORE interesting and FULL of new adventures to be had!
The idea is simple: go for a walk for at least 15 minutes and don’t let the cold scare you off. Celebrations can start small or include the entire school – just do something! If you need help marketing the event, use our expansive toolkit full of social media posts, parent fliers, ideas for announcements and posters for around the school.

What opportunities for winter celebrations can you think of in your community? Will your school win the 2018 Golden Snow Boot Award?

Get registered for Minnesota’s Winter Walk and Bike to School Day and we’ll support your efforts with materials and incentives to get your school moving.

Planning Assistance Application Deadline is Jan. 5 – Apply Now!

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 Jan. 5, 2018.

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. After a plan is developed, schools and communities use this assessment 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.

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 MnDOT's Safe Routes to School page.

Mark your calendars: Bike+Walk Minnesota Conference is coming in 2018

The Bike+Walk Minnesota conference (previously known as PedalMN) is geared toward everyone interested in supporting and promoting biking and walking in Minnesota. The event will be April 29 – May 1, 2018 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rochester, and will be chalk full of multidisciplinary conversations about the intersection of active transportation, community development, inequities and advocacy.

For more information, go to the Bike+Walk Minnesota site.

 

photo of students at walk to school day eventWalk to School Day photo contest

Thank you everyone for your efforts to make Minnesota’s Walk to School Day a success! We had well over 200 schools register (and even more participating) from around the state and many of you took photos and posted to social media for the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Walk to School Day Photo Contest. Check out everyone’s photos here.

There's still time to submit your photos to our contest and post your photos to the MnSRTS Facebook page with the hashtag #mnwalks by Oct. 11. Winners will be notified via social media.

Finally, take a moment to register your participating school for the Walk to School Day event. Registering after the event ensures you get counted in our statewide efforts and will add you to our ongoing WTSD specific communications.

New resource: Online crossing guard training

The Minnesota Safe Routes to School program is pleased to offer an online training for adult school crossing guards in Minnesota. Some Minnesota crossing guards do not currently receive any training on crossing guard procedures, common causes of crashes, or Minnesota state law.

This training is not intended to replace existing crossing guard training programs, but it is hoped that it will help provide a standard minimum amount of training for adult crossing guards throughout the state.

Learn more:

Fall Walk! Bike! Fun! trainings are open to registrants

Are you working with a school or community hoping to learn the ins and outs of teaching bicycle and pedestrian education? BikeMN offers a fun, active, hands-on and free training to prepare educators for implementing the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety curriculum to enhance any Safe Routes to School plan. This exciting curriculum is designed for physical education, health teachers, other educators and community partners to use to engage kids in a thoughtful, playful and interactive program learning safety tips and skills for walking and biking.

Learn more and register:

Dowling principal builds his own bike rack

photo of principal sitting next to the bike rack he built

Safe Routes to School often requires a certain level of creativity and energy, but this principal takes the cake. Dowling Urban Environmental Elementary School’s bike racks overflowed with bikes during last spring’s Walk & Bike to school event. This prompted the school’s principal, Dr. Lloyd Winfield, to weld a new rack over the summer out of metal repurposed from a recent playground remodel.

Do you have stories like this one? Please share!

Want to put more students on bikes? Volunteer with Free Bikes 4 Kidz

There are a lot of ways to encourage more bicycling in your community. If you are in the Twin Cities Metro and want to help put over 5,000 kids on bikes, consider volunteering with Free Bikes 4 Kidz. Shifts are open from Oct. 9 - Dec. 1. No experience is necessary. Great for groups and individuals. Sign up here.

Walk to School Day is Oct. 4 - register today!
photo of students from Jordan Public Schools walking
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.

SRTS infrastructure solicitation is coming. Is your community ready?

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).

MnDOT launches new online crossing guard training tool


photo of crossing guard holding up stop sign
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!

Walk! Bike! Fun! teacher training deadline extended

If your school or community would like to be trained in the Walk!Bike!Fun! youth pedestrian and bicycle safety curricula, we have extended the deadline to apply to host a training this fall. The deadline has been extended to midnight on Aug. 18, 2017. Please complete the application found here

MnDOT Awards Safe Routes to School Grants

planner working with youth

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: 

  • Saint Paul Public Schools 
  • City of Holdingford
  • Northrop Urban Environmental Learning – Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Zumbrota-Mazeppa Schools
  • Howard Lake/Waverly/Winstad Public Schools
  • Whittier International IB School - Minneapolis Public Schools
  • Region Five Development Commission: Grey Eagle School District/City of Long Prairie
  • Region Nine Development Commission: Sleepy Eye School District
  • East Central Regional Development Commission: Cambridge Isanti Schools
  • Southwest Regional Development Commission: Fulda Public Schools  
  • Arrowhead Regional Development Commission: McGregor School and Congdon Elementary (Plan Update)
  • West Central Initiative: City of Hawley
  • Mid-Minnesota Regional Development Commission: Cedar Mountain School District and Eden Valley Watkins School District 

Bike to School Day is coming May 10, are you ready?

This May 10th, thousands of students, families, community partners and elected officials will celebrate Bike to School Day, a national event, that encourages bicycling (or walking) to school. Students reap the health, community and academic benefits of a little bit of exercise before school, while having fun riding bicycles with their peers.

Minnesota Safe Routes to School (MNSRTS) is supporting Bike to School Day efforts by providing event toolkits (as available) to those that register their event early at www.walkbiketoschool.org.

Learn more about Minnesota's Bike to School Day here.

Second annual Bike to School Day poster contest kicks off!

Pedaling a bicycle can create some of childhood’s happiest moments. This year for Bike to School Day, Minnesota Safe Routes to School is holding our second annual Bike to School Day Poster Contest. Sponsored by the Minnesota Safe Routes to School, Quality Bicycle Products and Dero, the Poster Contest asks participants to design an 8.5 x 11 poster (Download the Poster Contest Guidelines) that shows how they feel when they ride a bicycle.

Find out more about the poster contest here.

MnDOT offers schools, communities Safe Routes to School funding

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

Minnesota's Winter Walk and Bike to School Day

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.

Snap Walk to School Day Photos and Win a Gift Card

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.

Walk to School Day is Here! Register your School and get Support.

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.

MnDOT Awards Bike Fleets for Walk!Bike!Fun! Implementation

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.

Bike to School Day Poster Contest

The Bike to School Day poster contest asked participants to design an 8.5 x 11 poster that shows how they feel when they ride a bicycle. See the contest winners.

SRTS strategic plan

Check out the SRTS strategic plan (PDF), developed by MnDOT and a diverse group of stakeholders from agencies and organizations around the state. 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 5-year goals, strategies, and action steps. The plan includes approaches to public outreach, marketing, and education for SRTS initiatives throughout the state of Minnesota, as well as strategies for developing and implementing SRTS plans and programs.

New eligibility requirement for infrastructure grants with state funds

In 2015, new eligibility language (PDF, 90 KB) was amended to the state SRTS program under Minnesota Statutes 174.40. To receive funding for SRTS infrastructure projects, communities will need to adopt subdivision regulations that require SRTS infrastructure in developments authorized on or after June 1, 2016.