MORPC Hosts Informative Safe Routes to School National Conference

April 13, 2016

Bicycle and pedestrian safety experts, community leaders and health professionals from around the country met in Columbus for the 5th Safe Routes to School National Conference. MORPC, had the privilege of hosting the informative three day conference from April 5-7, 2016.

It didn’t matter if you were an expert or an amateur, this conference had so much to offer and was packed with a dynamic mix of meetings, breakout sessions, workshops, and several special events. The conference kicked off with a speech by Kevin Carroll. Carroll shared his inspirational life story and the important role and impact ‘play’ had in his life. The conference also featured interactive mobile workshops and tours of local model programs and projects in Central Ohio

"The conference brought together leaders from a variety of fields and encouraged them to learn and discuss how we can make our roads safer for our children, while also promoting healthy habits,” said Emily Keeler, a member of Grandview Heights City Council. “I look forward to continuing this discussion in my community."

Experts such as Gil Penalosa (Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities), Dr. Ihuoma Eneli (Director of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition) , and MORPC Planning and Environment Director Kerstin Carr all shared their valuable insights on implementing safe routes programs and how these initiatives make neighborhoods safer and healthier. Safe Routes programs can instill healthy habits in children. These new habits encourage a healthy and improve the environment of numerous communities.

“This conference is about so much more than building sidewalks,” said Letty Schamp, a transportation engineer at the City of Hilliard. “It is about building a community or environment that fosters partnerships between different groups that make our neighborhoods stronger and protect the most important asset we have - our kids.” 

This biennial conference is sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Several groups sponsored the conference such as: Nationwide, the Ohio Department of Transportation, COTA, the City of Columbus and Franklin County, along with several others.