Poll: Washingtonians Want Safe and Healthy Routes to Schools

New statewide polling shows strong support for state investments in Safe and Healthy Routes to Schools

According to a new statewide poll a full 88% of likely 2014 Washington voters polled say that we should plan our communities and schools to make sure children can walk or bike to school and stay safe from traffic.

Children from Broadway Elementary in the Spokane Valley practicing our Safe Routes to School bicycle/pedestrian safety curriculum.

Children from Broadway Elementary in the Spokane Valley practicing our Safe Routes to School bicycle/pedestrian safety curriculum.

The poll commissioned by the statewide Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (COPC) – of which Washington Bikes is a member – released these exciting and encouraging results from their statewide telephone poll showing 84% of Washington State voters believe that funding to keep children safe from traffic and physically active should be a part of transportation spending in the state.

Even after voters are told about limited state dollars, an overwhelming three-quarters continue to say it is important to have safe and healthy routes to school funding as part of statewide transportation spending.

These findings show that Washington voters want smart state transportation investments that go beyond status quo solutions. Following two years of failed transportation funding debates in Olympia over spending proposals that lacked adequate investments in biking and walking, it’s illuminating also to see that 68% of Washington voters are more likely to support new transportation funds if dollars for safe routes to school programs are included.

Washington Bikes continues to advocate for the heavily oversubscribed state Safe and Healthy Routes to School grant program that increases physical activity by getting kids walking and biking, improves safety and reduces vehicle citations, and improves concentration in academics and thus contributes to school performance. In each grant cycle far more school districts apply for the program than can receive funding.

While Washington Bikes successfully advocated for all-time highs in active transportation investments in the 2013-15 state budget, new federal and state funding uncertainties make the 2015 legislative session a critical test for the Governor and Legislature’s support of safer, healthier communities and better biking and walking.

As of 2013 Safe Routes to School projects had brought new infrastructure and safety improvements, along with reductions in motor vehicle citations. Washington state Safe Routes to School investments added 75,000 feet of new sidewalks near schools, and reduced motorist speeds and traffic citations. For completed projects, so far no collisions involving bicyclists or pedestrians have been recorded at Safe Routes to School locations after project completion.

Walking School Bus. Courtesy of Ped Net

Walking School Bus. Courtesy of Ped Net

Go to COPC for more information about voter attitudes toward making safe and healthy routes to school a reality in Washington state and on the survey conducted by the independent research group, EMC Research.

Funding for the survey was made possible through a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, empowering advocates to take action in their communities and improve health of children across the nation.

If You Agree, Sign Our Petition to the Washington State Legislature

It doesn’t take a lot of words to make our point: We want an emphasis on safety and increased investments in the connections that make people want to bike and walk.

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This article was posted in Advocacy, Education, Funding/Policy, Health, Infrastructure, Issues & Advocacy, Kids, Legislature, News, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Transportation, WSDOT. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are closed.

2 Comments

  1. Josh
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    With word that more districts are adopting automated school bus safety cameras to ticket drivers who ignore flashing red STOP lights, isn’t it about time we follow the other Washington on crosswalk safety?

    This seems like a clear opportunity for collaboration among WA Bikes, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Safe Routes to School proponents, transit advocates, etc.

    Stop sign, crosswalk cameras coming to D.C. this summer

    • Barb Chamberlain
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment, Josh. Interesting idea that goes with red-light camera fines used for bike/walk improvements, as they do in Spokane.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] Washington Bikes sees the poll as a clear sign that residents want their lawmakers to include significant funding for the state’s very successful Safe Routes to School program in the next legislative session: […]

  2. […] on the Network today: Washington Bikes shares a poll showing overwhelming support for Safe Routes to School among the state’s […]