The Regional Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program was started in October of 2009. At that time, there were eight safe routes to school programs within East Central’s ten-county region. That number has expanded to 22 school districts and 86 schools in one and a half years. Each school has their own set of challenges within their Safe Routes to School Program, and they are working towards addressing those challenges through the Regional SRTS Program. East Central staff provides guidance and resources to implement education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation programs. The goal of this program is to empower local SRTS committees with the resources and knowledge to have a sustainable and successful SRTS Program.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from school. The program also will play a role in reversing the alarming nationwide trend toward childhood obesity and inactivity.
The program aims to educate children, parents and community members on the following categories:
- Traffic Congestion – As much as 20 to 30 percent of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school.
- Safety – SRTS project focus on infrastructure improvements, traffic education for students and driver enforcement, which provide positive impacts on the safety of children.
- Health and Obesity – Approximately 25 million children and adolescents – more than 33 percent – are now overweight, obese or at risk of becoming so. Walking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day.
- Environment – SRTS cuts down on the number of car emissions since more kids are walking and bicycling to school, improving the quality of air that children breathe in and around their schools.
The Regional SRTS Program is open to any public or private school located within East Central’s ten-county region (Calumet, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Menominee, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago Counties). Once schools sign up for the Regional SRTS Program, staff will work with their local SRTS task force to complete a local SRTS action plan and implement their recommendations. Schools participating in the Regional SRTS program should follow the guidance for participation document which includes:
- having their local SRTS action team meet four times a year;
- completing at least two SRTS activities during the school year
- Activities include: Parent Pledge, International Walk to School Day, Bike Safety Day, Youth Engagement Program, Walking School Bus Program