March 26, 2015 marked the launch of the North County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Coalition. Although there has been a San Diego County Safe Routes to School Coalition for several years, attendees of last September’s workshop, Healthy Transportation: The Intersection Between Businesses, Neighborhoods and Schools, expressed a need to establish a North County branch that can serve to enhance local partnerships and address the unique challenges of the region .
Kimberly Israel from the Escondido Union School District and Everett Hauser from the County’s Land Use and Environment Group (LUEG) played key roles in preparing for the launch of this new coalition. They provided their SRTS expertise and ensured that the meeting information reached a broad range of interdisciplinary individuals and groups. The meeting was held at the San Marcos City Hall and included local residents, representatives from over half of the North County cities, numerous school districts, community-based organizations, and a cross-section of County staff from Supervisor Bill Horn’s Office, the Health and Human Services Agency and LUEG.
The meeting provided an opportunity for attendees to share their diverse SRTS efforts, which included improving physical environments around schools, developing city-wide SRTS plans, coordinating intergenerational walking school buses, and engaging parents in multi-faceted safety programs. The meeting also served as a networking opportunity for representatives from programs across the region and organizations within the same cities.
The North County SRTS will continue to meet on a quarterly basis and focus each meeting on a specific topic such as safety, intergenerational strategies, and funding opportunities. For more information about the North County Safe Routes to School Coalition, please contact Brynn Viale.