Advocacy Newsletter: What’s Your Safe Route this Fall? 👟
Advocacy Newsletter, September 3, 2020
With all the uncertainties ahead this fall, looking both ways and making safe, healthy choices is as important as ever. Thankfully, there are miles of new sidewalk to help make some things, like taking a walk to school, a lot easier.
The idea of a Safe Route to School certainly has added meaning this fall. You may even still be deciding on whether or not your child is going to school, let alone how they are getting to and from school safely and responsibly. That said, along with our community partners, Norte has made great strides to create options other than the carline to transport children to and from school. That work continues even during the pandemic and, with the added uncertainties, is even more critical.
Some things remain certain. Starting our day with an active walk, bike, or roll of any kind helps ignite the mind and prepare us for the day ahead. This phenom is real for students as well as adults. This has us thinking: if your children learn at home this fall, how can we help you make a habit of stepping outside to start the day? Norte is hosting balance bike meetups and other programs, but how do we work together to integrate some habitual daily activity?
If your children are learning at school, how can we help you include a walk or bike ride to get them there? Sometimes, it’s as simple as a park and stroll option. Instead of spending 20 minutes in the school carline, you can spend 10-15 minutes walking with your child on the final stretch. It’s amazing what they notice.
Last spring, we put together walk and bike routes, including park and stroll options, for our partner schools in preparation for the new school year. With so much in the air this summer, the rollout didn’t go as planned. However, Norte is still here to help. We want to hear from our school champions.
What do you need? How are you getting to school this year? Does your child have a favorite route? What do they see on the way? Is there a friendly golden retriever who smiles at them along the way? A favorite stump they jump on and off? If there’s enough interest, let’s come together and make some new, illustrative maps (I 🧡maps).
2020 Explore Academy registration opens on Tuesday, September 8.
Explore Academy is an opportunity for students to change the world, beginning with their neighborhood and community. It engages and activates youth ages 13-18 around hands-on, feet-on-the-street material and discussions. Teen participants gain an experiential understanding of how the built environment changes over time, how it impacts our lives, and their role as citizens to shape it.
• East Bay Walk and Bike Audits –– As part of the ongoing efforts to create more connections for students and families in East Bay Township, we join our community partners in East Bay to invite you to participate in self-guided walking and bike audits around four schools: East Middle School, Cherry Knoll, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Grand Traverse Academy. East Bay Township planning has put together all you need to get started. They are available to help you, or a small group, complete the audits that will assist in planning and grant opportunities on the horizon. More details: East Bay Township Safe Routes to School
• Getting Passed Parking Minimums –– It’s not every day that a change in the zoning code here in Northern Michigan attracts a guru’s attention, but that happened Tuesday night. Parking expert Professor Donald Shoup took notice on Twitter when Traverse City’s Planning Commission considered, and then passed, eliminating parking minimums in the city. As Shoup has written,”minimum parking requirements act like a fertility drug for cars. Why do urban planners prescribe this drug?” The progressive recommendation now heads to the City Commission. We urge everyone to congratulate the City on this move and to ask City Commissioners to support the amendment. If you’d like to learn more, shoot me an email.
• BIKE IT! to End Distracted Driving –– Our advocacy partner in Lansing, League of Michigan Bicyclists, has partnered with The Kiefer Foundation to stop distracted driving through awareness and legislation. The BIKE IT! challenge is a commuter challenge that will raise 50 cents for ever mile we ride for the essentials. It’s not too late to put a team together and ride in support of a worthy cause. Get riding!
With mask on, hands squeaky clean, and from a minimum six-feet away, onward and upward.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!
P.S. Is your business ready to be certified a Bicycle Friendly Business? Next application deadline is October 20, 2020. Join Norte, Higher Grounds, and Boomerang Catapult as Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Grand Traverse.
Have a friend who is always talking about the streets and traffic? They can sign up below.