Recap from Eugene’s Safe Routes to School Town Hall

Thank you to Representative John Lively, Eugene Mayor-elect Lucy Vinnis, and Eugene City Councilor-elect Emily Semple for joining over 40 students, parents, grandparents, and neighbors at the Safe Routes to School town hall meeting in Eugene on December 6th.

At 4:30, on a blustery evening in the cafeteria at Roosevelt Middle School, Theresa from Lane Transit District’s Point to Point Solutions gave a local program update, which included introducing their new Safe Routes to School staff, Sarah and Laughton.

Representative Lively spoke to the group, outlining his reasons for wanting to make Safe Routes to School for every kid in Oregon; not surprisingly, his grandkids were at the top of the list.

Residents participated in a workshop on how to give public testimony. Then, six people practiced with our panel of elected leaders.

Darla leads a walking school bus and spoke about a little boy who comes every Friday. He is on the autism spectrum, and his ability to concentrate at school drastically increases when he walks to school.

Emma shared a story of a child who rode a bicycle the wrong way on a street and was hit by a car. “If only we had been able to teach bike safety lessons at his school, would he have still taken a ride in an ambulance that day?” she wondered.

Paul, who owns the local shop Arriving By Bike, shared his short testimony and commented later that he was glad to have learned how to arrange his thoughts to tell his story most effectively. 

Nearing 6 pm, almost everyone raised their hands high, pledged to send a postcard for Safe Routes to School, and encouraged their friends to do so as well. In total, the crowd pledged 390 postcards that night!

One lucky participant walked away from the evening with new-found confidence in providing public testimony, a handful of postcards, and a new scooter – thanks to a generous donation from Rogue Wheels!

We can’t wait for more Safe Routes to School town hall meetings in Redmond, Klamath Falls, Portland, Salem, and Astoria. You can participate, too, by making a postcard pledge today. 

Thanks to our other partners for making this evening a success: Eugene, Springfield, and Bethel school districts; the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (soon to be The Street Trust); and AARP! More photos here!


Comments (1)

  1. stephen couche Permalink  | Jan 30, 2017 09:51am

    I have worked off and on for the last 10 years with the “Safe Routes to Schools’ program as a volunteer, and believe that it is one of the most effective programs around at getting kids out of their parents cars and walking or bicycling to their neighborhood schools! I am always inspired by the “graduation ride” as kids mount their bikes and follow in a long line on a route through their neighborhood that circles back around to their schools. The smiles on children’s faces makes the whole effort so worthwhile! All children should have access to a safe route to their school, whether it is bicycling or walking!