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Maine Safe Routes to School Newsletter | May 2014 Newsletter
Happy Bike & Walk to School Month!  We wanted to be sure to check-in with you about some timely resources and updates for May.

Hope You're Enjoying Maine Bike & Walk to School Month!

We hope this finds you engaged in Bike & Walk to School Month in Maine!  Over 30 schools and communities in Maine are, and will be, celebrating with various walk and bike to school events this spring.  See the list of schools that is being added to daily.  It's not too late to plan something for this month or next!  

If you have Walk & Bike to School events, or other walk and bike activities in your community planned for ANYTIME this spring (including Maine SRTS Mini-Grant activities) - please do a quick registration of your event(s) with Maine Safe Routes to School.  Registering is also the way to order more event materials and incentives such as stickers and bookmarks. And, your school will be entered into a raffle to win some fun safety gear.  We're happy to provide guidance if it's your first time or you're trying to revamp any of your activities, too.


Photo above: Students, parents, school staff, local law enforcement and community members celebrated National Bike to School day with a Bike Train to Geiger Elementary School in Lewiston on May 7th.

Safety Infrastructure for Communities - MaineDOT Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Program - Available For a Limited Time! 

MaineDOT is pleased to announce a partnership opportunity with municipalities in the acquisition and installation of solar-powered pedestrian crossing safety devices at approved locations for this construction season!

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) are solar-powered flashing lights that drastically improve motor vehicle compliance rates of stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks at unsignalized locations.   They capture the driver's attention, making a particular crossing much more visible and safer for pedestrians. They really make a difference in creating a walkable environment!  

MaineDOT’s program can provide these RRFB’s to municipalities at no cost!  All that is needed is for municipalities to install (no wiring required) and maintain them.  MaineDOT will help determine whether a crosswalk location is a good fit for an RRFB.  So call soon, as the program will operate on a first come, first serve basis. 

This is a great partnering opportunity and if your community wants to request an RRFB, please contact Stephen Landry at 624-3632 or email him at stephen.landry@maine.gov as soon as possible to discuss the potential location.



Gov. LePage Letter of Recognition for Maine Safe Routes to School Efforts!

Governor Paul LePage recently sent a letter of support in recognition of the Maine Safe Routes to School Program. Check out the letter here and many thanks to Governor LePage for urging all citizens to participate! 

It's wonderful to hear and we want to recognize all the great people of Maine who partner with us to help make Safe Routes to School a reality in their local communities!

Maine SRTS Profiled in Upcoming Webinar! 

Recruiting and Training Volunteers for Long Term Success
Thursday, May 15, 2-3pm
Register Here Now

On Thursday, May 15th, from 2-3 p.m., the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is hosting a free webinar on 
Recruiting and Training Volunteers for Long Term Success.

Our very own Sarah Cushman, Southern Maine Planner for Maine Safe Routes to School, will be one of the presenters - talking specifically about successes and lessons learned through the Portland Walking School Bus Program! This webinar is one of a two-part series that will explore tried-and-true methods for working with volunteers in Safe Routes to School programs and other school-based volunteer initiatives.

Join in to hear Sarah and the other speakers discuss the ways they have recruited and trained volunteers and created sustainable, long-lasting relationships within their schools and communities.

 

Other Timely Resources: Helmets, Walk Friendly Communities, Webinars & Grant Opportunities

The Maine Safe Routes to School Program keeps an eye out for local and national resources and trainings that will help build and support your walk and bike to school activities. 

June 12 - Mid-Coast Active Community Environment (ACE) Team Workshop
12:30-5:30pm in Belfast
Register Here Now

If you've recently formed an Active Community Environment (ACE) Team, or are thinking about doing so, then this workshop is for you!  An ACE Team is a great way to improve walking and biking on the local level.  Made up of interested members of your community and municipal staff - and with technical assistance from the state - ACE Teams work to increase levels of physical activity by improving walking and bicycling conditions and developing accessible recreation facilities.

On June 12, spend an afternoon in Belfast with state experts and local advocates like yourself and learn all about the Active Community Environment initiative and how you can be successful in your efforts.  Located at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center just outside of downtown Belfast, this workshop will offer an opening address on the origins and vision of ACE in Maine, and six breakout sessions covering all of the key ACE concepts.  The day will close with an open forum of sorts, an opportunity to react to the training, ask additional questions, hear from your peers and tie it all together.
 
Please share this email with all on your team, and/or those who should be on your team.  There is plenty of room and lots of information to share! 
 
This free workshop is brought to you by the Maine CDC Prevention And Control (PAC) Grant, and the Active Community Environment Workgroup.  
Register for the workshop here.  For more information and the full workshop agenda, contact Doug Beck at Maine CDC via e-mail or phone: (207) 287-5041.

Bicycle Helmet Program Available for Maine Children!

With many students in Maine in need of bicycle helmets to improve safety, our program is proud to coordinate with the Maine Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Education Program on the Maine Bicycle Helmet Program!  This program provides bicycle helmets to youth through schools, police departments, community groups, etc.

Applicants c
ommit to arranging bicycle and pedestrian safety education presentations for helmet recipients before or within three months of submitting your order.   
See here for more information and to apply for helmets through the program

Online Bike Safety Videos Newly Updated & Available!

Looking for a bike safety supplement to the Maine Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Education Program? Bicycle Safer Journey (revised 2014 by the Federal Highway Adminstration) helps educators, parents and others who care about bicycle safety to get the conversation started with children and youth.

Available online, three videos — one for each of three age groups — accompanied by a quiz or discussion and an educator's resource library can be used as an introduction to bicycle safety skills or to augment a comprehensive curriculum.  Check out this great resource here!

Due June 16 - Apply for Walk Friendly Community Status!

Be the first Maine community to attain Walk Friendly Community status! The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) announces the opening of the eighth round of the Walk Friendly Communities (WFC) application process.  WFC is a national recognition program to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for safe walking.  Applications are due by June 16, 2014.  

Currently, 47 communities nationwide have earned Walk Friendly status see the list here. To assist applicants in collecting and preparing their responses, PBIC has an interactive version of the application. This text version can be circulated among an application team to facilitate the internal review process prior to submission on June 16. All applications must still be submitted through the online application system by creating an account. To download the text version of the application, please visit www.walkfriendly.org/get_started.

Assessing the communities' commitment to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC makes designations based on a Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze level, and all communities receive detailed feedback on where and how they can improve.  Officially launched in October 2010, the WFC program is funded by FedEx Corp. and the Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.walkfriendly.org and we encourage your community to apply!

Due July 1 - Coastal Grants Available for Municipal and Regional Projects!

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Coastal Program has announced that it is seeking applications for a new round of coastal grants for FY 2015 totaling $265,000. The grants are for municipal and regional quality of place projects in Maine's Coastal Zone. The two types of available grants covered by this announcement include: Coastal Communities grant and Shore and Harbor Planning grants.

Coastal Communities Grant Program

Eligible projects must be designed to improve water quality, increase resiliency/adaptation to erosion and flooding, conserve coastal habitat, promote sustainable development, and enhance the coastal-dependent economy while preserving natural coastal resources. This program is designed to address the five priority goals of the Maine Coastal Program:
  • Ensuring Sustainable, Vibrant Coastal Communities
  • Improving Coastal Public Access
  • Addressing the effects of land use activity on water quality
  • Restoring Coastal Habitats
  • Preparing for coastal storms, erosion and flooding, coastal hazards
Shore and Harbor Planning Grants

Shore and Harbor Technical Assistance Grants promote: sound waterfront planning and harbor management, balanced development of shore and harbor areas, advance planning for waterfront infrastructure improvements and access to the shore. Funds may be used for development of plans for waterfront, harbor and mooring areas, development of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to waterfront conservation and improvement, development of planning studies for public and working access, development of plans and designs for harbor improvements, and development of management plans for municipal waterfront facilities.

The Coastal Communities grants have a maximum award of $50,000, while the Shore and Harbor grant have a maximum award of $20,000. Those eligible to apply include towns in Maine's coastal zone, groups of towns in Maine's coastal zone; coastal Regional Planning Commissions; and coastal Councils of Government.

Grant applications are due Tuesday, July 1, 2014.  Find more information and apply here!


Due June 5 & July 30 - Aetna Regional Grants for Active Living

The Aetna Foundation Regional Grants Program – GoLocal: Cultivating Healthy Communities – funds community wellness initiatives aligned with its Healthy Eating and Active Living focus area in designated funding locations (Maine is one of them).

Grants support local initiatives that promote eating fresh fruits and vegetables and being physically active, which can help to prevent obesity and many chronic health conditions. Grants target underserved, low-income and minority communities where healthy food can be difficult to buy, and where social and environmental factors may limit people’s ability to be physically active.

Deadlines for grant applications are Cycle 1: June 5 and Cycle 2: July 30 - see here for more information and to apply.
 

Apply for Technical Assistance from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Program
Applications Due August 1, 2014

The National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance  (RTCA) Program is the community assistance arm of the National Park Service and has been highly successful in assisting communities in Maine to develop local bicycle and pedestrian trail networks. The program will be accepting applications for technical assistance (i.e., staff support to help develop projects, not trail funding) until August 1st. 

RTCA supports community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation projects and provides staff support to communities and organizations to help conserve rivers, preserve open space, and develop trails and greenways.  The RTCA Application is here and RTCA strongly encourages potential applicants to contact them to discuss their projects.  For more information visit the RTCA website and to see a list of RTCA's current projects, see this map and click on Maine.


Save the Date - 7th Annual Maine ACE Conference!
September 25, 2014 in Bangor

Join us for the 7th annual Maine Active Communities Conference, a training and celebration of the health and economic benefits of Active Community Environments: the built environment, physical activity, walking, biking, parks, trails and more…

Mike Lydon, from The Street Plans Collaborative will deliver the Keynote Address on "Encouraging Physical Activity: Creative Ways to Get Maine Moving Now"

Note that this year's conference has moved to the fall to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather of Maine. It's also a little further up I-95 in the heart of downtown Bangor.  All sessions will be held at the United Universalist Church of Bangor, right next to Bangor City Hall.

Thanks for all your walk and bike efforts during this busy spring season - and please let us know how we can be helpful with anything your community is working on!

The Maine Safe Routes to School Team
In This Edition

 
more infoFor More Information

Darcy Whittemore
Maine Safe Routes to School Program
Tel: 207-623-4511
E-Mail: saferoutes@bikemaine.org
- or -
Sarah Cushman
Maine Safe Routes to School Program
Tel: 207-200-1910
E-Mail: sarah@sarahcushman.com
- or -
Jim Tasse
Maine Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety Education Program
Tel: 207-623-4511
Email: jim@bikemaine.org
- or -
Dan Stewart
MaineDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager
Tel: 207-624-3252
E-Mail: dan.stewart@maine.gov
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