Sustainable Transportation Engagement for Pedestrian Safety (STEPS)

With generous funding from The Health Trust of Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, California Walks in partnership with the  Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County are working together to promote physical activity and active transportation (walking and biking) for residents of all ages by engaging and empowering residents to influence  policy and land use changes that will  improve pedestrian safety and walkability in two predominantly low-income East San José neighborhoods. Through the STEPS project, California Walks  employs a multi-generational community-based participatory research model that engages both youth and older adults—the two most vulnerable pedestrian populations. Not only are these the two most vulnerable populations but they also are most familiar with the daily conditions of the streets because they use the streets the most often.

Cal Walks aims to leverage older adults’ advocacy skills and leadership experiences to mentor and encourage youth leadership development, while the youth mentor older adults on the new media and technology tools for advocacy, such as Video Voice. Cal Walks hopes the synergy of a multi-generational approach will cultivate lifelong youth and older adult leaders to record, share, and communicate their experiences and needs to decision makers. Ultimately, Cal Walks hopes STEPS can serve as a model for efforts to engage community residents in healthy transportation and pedestrian safety advocacy across the state.

The Neighborhoods

Washington Camina Contigo (Parent Volunteer Group)

Event Photos

San Jose Citywide STEPS Coalition

Recognizing the ongoing pedestrian safety work in San José championed by the California Alliance of Retired Americans (CARA),  AGEnts for Change, and Traffic Safe Communities Network (of the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health) as well as the air quality work of Breathe California, the STEPS project aims to coordinate numerous location- and neighborhood-specific initiatives around a city-wide coalition that will advance a shared pedestrian safety agenda.

The City of San José has approved roughly $1 million for dedicated pedestrian safety improvement priorities and has obtained Safe Routes to Schools funding. At the same time, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is conducting community outreach on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and other transit projects in STEPS neighborhoods and throughout the City. In working with an increasing network of partners through the STEPS Coalition, California Walks hopes to build community advocacy capacity  and to cultivate sustainable partnerships with the City, County, VTA, the State of California and others to leverage  these transportation investments to improve walking conditions and health equity  in neighborhoods suffering the most pedestrian  injuries and fatalities. By convening this coalition, California Walks and its partners are developing a systematic, collaborative approach to improving pedestrian safety throughout the City of San José and that is intended to be replicable and taken to scale statewide.

Read the STEPS Coalition Policy Platform here.

To learn more about our project successes to-date, review our case study here.