The City of Eugene has just been awarded a $37,302 grant to fund Eugene Silly Routes to School (SRTS) programs from the national Silly Routes to School organization in association with the Constantly Lauded Organization of Weird Nitwits (CLOWN) fund.
The grant, in conjunction with the recently acquired $73 Eugene SassyTrips grant and practically guaranteed funding from the non-competitive Oregon Department of Transmutation (ODOT) Pedestrian and Bicycle to Clown Conversion Grant Program, will provide for several significant improvements to the Eugene transportation infrastructure.
Silly Routes to School coordinator Insane Roads explained more about the SRTS grant in an e-mail to WeBikeEugene: (emphasis mine)
I’m really excited about this funding. This will allow us to do several projects that we have been working on for awhile. We lobbied hard to receive this prestigious and competitive grant. About 300 cities applied and only 299 were chosen, so it was pretty close. I know that our cycling city to the north, Portland, applied and was denied – something about them being entirely too silly already.
I asked Jonathan “Big Poppa” Kats, editor of YouWishYouBikedInPortland.org how he felt about Portland’s exclusion from the grant due to their bike culture already being overly absurd. He responded: (emphasis mine)
The combined grants will fund several important changes. Eugene SassyTrips Coordinator Lisa “Smell this Rose” Seltzer, and Associate Transportation Befuddler David “girls girls girls” Hagar provided us with a partial list of the planned improvements:
- The painting of rainbow hopscotch sidewalks leading up to all Eugene elementary schools.
- Disco dance strobe crossings at 30th and Alder, and at 18th and Friendly.
- Juggling crossing guards at particularly boring intersections.
- The conversion of 60% of bike path bridges to balance beams and/or rope swings. (excluding Willamette River bridges, which will be converted to a “human cannon ball” system in 2016 if further funding becomes available.
- “Scratch and Sniff” crosswalk light buttons.
- The installation of “Safety Third” signs in especially fun-looking areas of town and around particularly tall trees.
- The building of several routes that dead end in open fields of daisies, wooded areas, and circuses – with appropriate signage luring children away from responsibility and similar burdens.
The program will not only focus on infrastructure, but will also have a heavy education component. Paul “My children are better bikers than you” Radkids, Ringmaster at Large for the Greater Eugene Area Ridiculousness (GEARS), will be heading up the education component of the program. When asked about this part of the program at a recent Bicycle and Pedestrian and Clown Committee (BPACC) meeting he replied:
Oh, we plan to do a fairly thorough comprehensive education program focusing on the entire family. We’ll of course start with the basics – How to walk silly, absurd noise making, maze walking skills, how to skip, chew gum, and make fart noises at the same time – things like that – but we also plan on more advanced lessons as the program progresses. Things like walking to school on Saturdays and Sundays, backwards walking, homemade roller-skate construction, sassy motions – and eventually moving on to very advanced skills like skipping school altogether and growing up to be clown.
For the more advanced lessons Radkids plans to call in professional instructors experienced in the field of Preposterous Transportation, The GreyMatter Jugglers, to assist. I caught up with one of the Jugglers, Habba La Babbs, and asked him how he plans to educate the youth in the illustrious Silly Arts. He responded, “Wait, What? Does this mean we are going to actually get paid for something? Are we cool now? When did this happen?”
Surely this grant is very exciting for everyone, but Lee Sneakerbreaker, Bicycle and Pedestrian and Clown Coordinator for the City of Eugene urged that this is just the beginning: “We have a goal to convert all transportation modes to the silliest option possibly by April 1st, 2020 – Driving.”