Transportation continues to be a challenge in the out-of-school time (OST) world. Many youth depend on rides from a parent or other adult in their life, and can’t attend programs if that adult is at work or doesn’t own a car. Without safe, easy, reliable transportation to OST programs, youth miss the many benefits that OST participation can provide.
In 2013, Sprockets commissioned a research project led by Greenway Transportation to assess how easy it was for Saint Paul youth to get to and from OST opportunities across the city of Saint Paul by walking, biking, and public transportation. Their findings showed that some sites were much more accessible than others, and that some sites and certain areas of the city faced more barriers than others.
Following the report, Sprockets convened a group of youth and working professionals to create recommendations for how to follow up on the Transportation Report. One of those recommendations was to create a biking and walking toolkit for Sprockets OST partner organizations that could help sites think creatively and strategically about youth transportation.
This toolkit is meant as a resource to increase the number of youth biking, walking, and using public transportation to access OST programs. These modes of transportation aren’t always appropriate – depending on the time of year, distance traveled, and age of the youth involved. Youth shouldn’t be biking or walking long distances in extreme cold or dark, or when there is ice and snow covering sidewalks, streets, and stairs. However, when the weather is warm, the sun sets late, and kids are out of school, walking and biking can be great options.
Sprockets hopes to increase youth ability to walk, bike, and generally travel independently to the places they need to go.