“Steamboat Springs is very bike friendly, but everyone still likes their suburbans,” says Sally Cariveau, Steamboat Springs School District’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. To tackle the challenges presented by a largely rural population, the district has established “Hike and Bikes” on Friday mornings in the spring and fall with drop-off points for busses that allow all riders an opportunity to participate. Families are also encouraged to consider driving to drop-off points and allowing their children to walk or bike to school from there.
“The community really gets behind these programs,” Cariveau says. And their success is due, in part, to the city’s focus on creating and promoting walking and biking trails, she says. Additionally, the district’s bicycle rodeos in the spring are staffed by community volunteers and the city provides community service officers to accompany the students as they hike and bike to school on Fridays.
The district has applied for funding to continue to promote and expand its program through the Colorado Safe Routes to School non-infrastructure grants. “I’m hoping to run some newspaper and radio ads if we receive the funding,” Cariveau says. “I’d also like to create incentive programs to encourage participation.”
In the meantime, Cariveau is focused on planning this year’s bike rallies and ramping up the hike and bike events once the snow clears. “The culture of Steamboat is one that really supports active transportation,” she says. “That translates into a lot of possibilities for our Safe Routes to School program.”