Working Toward Sustainable Transportation Through Youth Engagement and Outreach

 

by: St. Paul Smart Trips, reprinted with permission from Minnesota Active Living Network News, an email newsletter from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
October 24, 2012
 
St. Paul Smart Trips is working to make a lasting impact on sustainability in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood by engaging a crew of 12 high school students to learn about sustainable transportation in order to design an education and community outreach program to promote sustainable transportation choices to other Frogtown residents. Smart Trips is working in collaboration with the Science Museum’s Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center (KAYSC) to hire, train and manage the “Sustainable Transportation Crew.”  
 
The youth crew is a new model for the Smart Trips Neighborhoods programs, which were implemented in the Summit University, Union Park and Highland Park neighborhoods of St. Paul. In all three communities, Smart Trips encouraged residents to drive less and use sustainable transportation options more often. The programs successfully changed individual attitudes and behaviors and helped people explore options for getting around by foot, bike and transit.
 
The Frogtown program has the same end goal, but the program and strategy will be developed and implemented by the youth crew over the next year and a half. Along with KAYSC and Smart Trips, crew manager Tou SaiKo Lee is in the process of hiring local youth and will soon begin immersing them in learning about aspects of sustainable transportation such as urban planning, engineering, environmental issues, Complete Streets design, GIS mapping, bike safety and bike mechanics, health impacts of active transportation, public art and placemaking and more. 
 
As part of their outreach, the youth crew will engage with several Frogtown residents to assess transportation barriers, attitudes and behaviors, facilitating events and classes to connect with neighborhood organizations and people. Smart Trips looks forward to being part of a youth-led effort that will positively impact the local environment as well as improving individual and community health by promoting active, healthy transportation options.  
 
For further information, contact Emma Pachuta, St. Paul Smart Trips Neighborhoods Program Director at emma@smart-trips.org or (651) 224-8555, ext. 22.