Thursday, October 18, 2012

Technical Assistance Opportunities Offered

Do you have a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in your area?

If you do, maybe it would be a good idea to connect with that person. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally run program that operates in every state and many communities to promote safe walking and biking routes to schools. The program recently received a national Harvard Bright Ideas in Government award, which recognizes and promotes creative government partnerships. The national director of the SRTS program attributes the award to the willingness of local and state organizers to make data-driven program decisions. "The policy experts selecting SRTS as a Bright Ideas award recipient pointed to the program's ability to obtain information on school travel habits from so many schools and communities, as well as how accurate the data is in forming and understanding national trends." Some of the other winners include local government networks that promote sustainability, video interviewing of human services clients, due to transportation challenges, and many education and employment-related projects, among others. (Sources: AASHTO Journal, Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Ash Center)

[Streetcar in Castro neighborhood of San Francisco.]

Technical Assistance Opportunities

Smart Growth America is offering free technical assistance in the form of one-or-two-day workshops for communities on such topics as transportation performance measurement and planning for small communities. The application deadline is next week on Oct. 25.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is gearing up for a round of Our Town grants. These grants are $25,000 to $200,000 each, for creative placemaking projects that contribute towards the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core. Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to: Improve their quality of life; encourage greater creative activity; foster stronger community identity and a sense of place; and revitalize economic development. I am thinking public art at bus stops, transit and intercity stations. The application deadline is Jan. 14, 2013.

Webinars: Fare Free and Advisory Committees

As one of my panel members at a fare-free session a few years ago said, if the transit is good, fare free will make a big difference in ridership; but people will not use a lousy service even if it is free. That said, if you are intrigued (as I am) by the possibilities of fare-free service, next month the National Transit Institute is hosting a webinar, Implications and Outcomes of Fare-Free Transit Systems (TCRP Synthesis 101), on Nov. 15, 2012.

[Bike parking opportunity in Baltimore, near the Convention Center and Camden Yards ballpark.]

A secret to effective partnerships and decision making groups is to have the right people involved, people who have authority, energy or magical charms to make things happen. An Easter Seals Project Action webinar, BORPSAT: Bunch of the Right People Sitting Around the Table --Lessons for Maximizing the Effectiveness of your Transportation Advisory Committee, will address this issue on October 24. The webinar will discuss ways to ensure that diverse stakeholders, including representatives of the disability community, are involved as well as strategies for effective structure and operation of committees To register, email your name, ZIP code, phone number, email address, organization, and job title to with the subject line "BORPSAT." (Caveat: There might not be a discussion of magical charms.)

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