Back-to-school is a short week away! We hope you are enjoying the last few days of summer break, and feeling rested to come back to school. In this monthly newsletter, we have ideas and resources to help make your school trip as smooth as possible.
Safe Routes to School Team | Dana, Janis, Abra, Lale, Xao, Meaghan
In this email:
Test Your Route Before the First Day
Regardless of how you get to school make sure to test out your route well in advanced. Going from your summer to fall routines can take longer than expected. Give yourself ample time to adjust to your new school commute. Here are some ideas to consider for your trip to school:
Bike: Get prepared for returning to school by trying your bike ride to campus before classes begin. Check out portlandbikemap.com to find your route or pick up a free bike map at most bike shops in Portland. Biking is a great way to get some exercise into your day and to reduce your impact on the climate.
Walk: Walking is a great way to get to school and get some fresh air and exercise along the way. Did you know that Multnomah County Libraries have free bike and walk maps available? Pick one up to see which routes to school will work for you. Bonus: walking is the ultimate earth-friendly way to get around!
Transit: Riding transit helps reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Even just one or two transit trips a week makes a difference. Check out Google Maps or the new TriMet trip planner to plan out your route to school by bus or MAX.
Park & Walk: Parking a couple blocks from school allows you and your family to get a short walk in and reduces traffic congestion around the school. Give it a try before school starts to get familiar with your route.
Carpool: Ask your neighbors if they are interested in setting up a school carpool. Carpooling allows you to share driving responsibilities and it helps reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions around your school. A win-win!
Your New Back-to-School Routine
Need help preparing for back-to-school? Here are tips make your school trip as smooth as possible!
Pack early. Whether you're checking your bike tire pressure the night before or picking out your first-day outfit a week ahead - it always helps to prepare early. Designate an area to keep your school things, or keep them handy by your door as a reminder on your way out.
Communicate. Come up with a communications plan with your student/child. Talk about your route, and make sure your child has an emergency plan - such as having contact information for a few trusted adults.
Slow your roll - literally! Give yourself ample time to be able to take things slow the first few days of school commute. Whether you're trying out a completely new route/travel mode or have done it a hundred times, allowing yourself to get there slowly automatically makes the trip less chaotic. Plus, you end up at school with less wild-looking hair for picture day.
Try a new travel mode! We highly encourage you and your student/child to try out a new mode to get to school. Changing up your mode can be a challenge - consider taking on this challenge together as a family! Walking and rolling allows for time to socialize and exercise, especially if you're in a walking/riding group. You can also avoid the school traffic jam - reducing traffic near schools make it safer for all families. If walking the entire way is not an option, consider picking a spot a few blocks from school, drive there, then walk!
Check out our Back-to-School Resources for Parents and Caregivers.
Homeless and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program Support
Concerned about a campsite and/or an abandoned vehicle? You can use PDXReporter or call 311 to report your concern. Once you have reported the campsite/vehicle to the City, you can check here for a weekly street service report. The graphic below describes the process. Please note: each site must be assessed. If it meets criteria to be moved, a notice is posted. The City must give residents 72 hours prior to removing people’s belongings. More information on the Homeless/Urban Camping Reduction Program can be found here. City and school district staff are partnering on these issues.
School Routes are Everywhere - Drive Like It
As school comes back in session, Oregon Department of Transportation, Metro, Portland Bureau of Transportation and would like to remind our communities of the statewide School routes are Everywhere. #DriveLikeIt campaign. This awareness campaign is designed to let drivers know that as kids return to in-person learning, our kids are walking and rolling in and around our streets and communities.
There are more than 120 elementary, middle and high schools in the City of Portland. Every school day, 67,000 students travel to these schools. People driving across Portland will, on average, pass a school or cross a school route every half mile. Vehicle crashes peak on weekdays between 3-7 p.m., right around school dismissal time. In an effort to keep kids safe, we urge Portlanders to do the following:
Thank you for doing your part to keep our kids safe on their way to school!
Metro Mini-Grant Applications
Metro is excited to offer 25 $500 mini-grants available to public K-12 schools (or nonprofit school PTOs) in the Portland Metro area to implement a Safe Routes Back-to-School strategy that supports kids and families as they return to school this Fall. Work with your school if you are interested in this grant for your community. Find more information here!