Elexis Moyer Safe Routes to School Testimony

Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation

January 21st, 2016:

Hello, my name is Elexis Moyer. I’m seventeen years old, a current student at Portland Community College, and a Multnomah Youth Commissioner from the Sustainability Committee. The Multnomah Youth Commission is the official youth policy body of the City of Portland and Multnomah County. I am asking for the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation to fund Safe Routes to School in the Regional Flexible Funds Allocation. Safe Routes to School matters to me because I believe that everyone deserves their right to attain an education safely and effectively, as well as access to opportunities. I am Native American from the tribes of Lakota Sioux, and Burns Paiute, I am LGBTQ, and from a low income household, which are some of identities that are most affected by not having Safe Routes to School. I live in outer Southeast Portland in Felony Flats. I went to Portland Public Schools from kindergarten to my Junior year in high school and I always lived in walking distance of my middle and elementary schools. It wasn’t until High School when I started to have to use Tri-Met. I was lucky enough that Portland Public School’s, the City of Portland, and Trimet provided a free YouthPass to all PPS students. Had PPS not provided a YouthPass for my family, we would have had to ration our money even more than we already were. Although I was able to ride transit for free, I still had to walk a mile every day to get to my bus stop and to get home. I would have been okay with this if my neighborhood wasn’t as unsafe as it was. I don’t have sidewalks on my way to the bus stop, and didn’t have sidewalks when I used to walk to my elementary and middle schools. What accounts for sidewalks on my main walking street are small white squares that are barely visible anymore, which means I’m pretty much just walking on the street. However, I’m not the only one walking on my main street. The same elementary school I went to, now has a yellow bus that picks up young children on that street. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve nearly been hit by garbage trucks, busses, big vans, and speeding cars exactly where they are waiting to get to school, and all over that main road. By funding Safe Routes to School you will not only be helping students safely get exercise on their way to school, but you will also benefit students who have no other option than to find their own way to school regardless of whether or not it’s safe. The Multnomah Youth Commission is already working towards getting funding for a free youth bus pass for all youth between the ages 13-21 in the tri-county area. By dedicating 15 million for Safe Routes to School in the Regional Flexible Funds Allocation, you will help students access education and opportunities safely as well as bring organizations together in the fight towards equitable transportation.

Thank you for your time.