As I write this I am sitting on an Amtrak train from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR after leading a technical assistance presentation and workshop for the local CPPW grantees (Communities Putting Prevention to Work, a CDC-funded policy and program effort). I love being able to travel with leg and walking room, a dining car, views and wifi - train travel sure beats air!
This is my first post on our new blog, and I am excited to have this chance to speak to all of you about the new technical assistance work that I am focused on. We had a great session today in Seattle, with a really good cross-section of agencies and advocates in the room, all working to increase walking and bicycling in the suburban and rural communities surrounding Seattle. From health and transportation staff, to bike and ped advocates, to school district leaders, and even the Kent, WA mayor, we had a smart and committed group that is leading the way!
Last night I was given a working tour of some of the schools in the area that are starting or growing Safe Routes to School programs, and we brainstormed solutions to some of the roadblocks - nearby crime, dangerous street crossings, high speed traffic, lack of sidewalks, poor lighting - the usual issues that keep many kids and families from being active in their neighborhood. The great thing is that there are very capable people working on these issues, and Seattle and Washington have some good policies in place already to help make change.
In April we will be launching a National Learning Network, hosted on this website, that will feature a library of best practices, reports, case studies and model policies. We will also begin a monthly webinar series (and archive) on various issues affecting Safe Routes funding, policies and practice and regular blog posts here will keep you informed of current events in the field.
Well, I can't wait to get back home and horseplay with the boys - Christopher (10) and Oliver (5). Undoubtedly they will want to go the neighborhood park on a Raccoon Hunt after dark, get chased by Evil Twin Papa, swing, slide, crawl, run, spin, jump, hide, seek, wrestle, and best of all get really dirty (and try to stay up past bed time, of course).
Until next time...