FABB requests all Fairfax County parents who want their children to benefit from a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program to contact their District Supervisor and Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board Member and ask them to provide funding for the SRTS program and a program coordinator for the 2022-2023 school year.
The federal grant that funds SRTS ends at the close of this school year. As of now, the county has not earmarked funding for SRTS or for the critical coordinator position for the next school year.
Budget decisions are being made early in 2022 and the time to Speak Up! is now. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 proposed FCPS budget will be released in mid-January with a budget hearing on 24 January 2022. The School Board will adopt its final FY 23 budget on 24 February.
Why support SRTS and the coordinator position?
- The SRTS program increases the number of students who take part in safe walking and biking activities at and outside of school.
- It helps students get physically active, enabling them to arrive at school energized and ready to learn.
- It reduces car congestion at and near schools and improves the surrounding air quality.
- It educates students on pedestrian and bicycle safety. [Check out this FCPS traffic garden!]
Since the introduction of local SRTS coordinators in 2013, participation in bike/walk events and programs have increased significantly. Virginia is 2nd in the nation behind California in the number of events and participation in SRTS programs. Fairfax County schools represent a significant portion of the commonwealth’s participation in Walk and Bike to School events.
The Fairfax County SRTS program has been highly effective:
- As of now, 29 FCPS schools have bicycles housed on site and there are 2 traveling fleets of bikes for bike education classes at other schools.
- Prior to the pandemic, during the 2018-2019 school year, 12,689 students at 38 schools took bike safety lessons. 12% of those students were new to riding.
- A survey of 21 schools with SRTS programs found an average 6% decrease in car ridership and a corresponding increase in biking and walking to school.
Fairfax County’s SRTS program, if funded for FY 23, is prepared to:
- Get more permanent sets of bikes at schools.
- Create after school bike shops where students learn to repair the bikes used in physical education classes.
- Install more traffic gardens.
- Pilot a pre-K bike/pedestrian program with balance bikes and lessons at 5 elementary schools.
- Support multiple bike/walk to school days throughout the year.
Don’t wait. Find links to your supervisor and school board members at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/myneighborhood/ and then tell them you support funding for Safe Routes to School.