Can 100% active travel to school be achieved?

Busy schedules, long distances, multiple destinations, traffic safety, inclement weather, convenience; these are just some of the reasons why more students than ever are being driven to school. Last October, these reasons were put to the test by one Victoria based school – Sir James Douglas Elementary – during Walk and Wheel Week: SJD challenged everyone in its school community to travel actively to school for one day.

During the week leading up to the pinnacle 100%-in-one day event, driving families were encouraged to try out active options, such as ‘Feet on the Street’ (a walking school bus), transit, cycling, and ‘Drive to Five’ (parking a five-minute walk away from the school). Supportive resources, information, and a Best Routes to School map were added to the school’s website.

The result of all this effort? 98% active mode share! It was magical… but more importantly, it was (read: is) achievable.

Participants were rewarded with treats, prizes and PLAY: the school grounds were converted into one big play space; the staff and visitor parking lots were taken over by students and families who had used means other than driving to the immediate school site.

Video Credit: Victoria News

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Walking to School hits the CBC

Last Tuesday, our own Carol Sartor joined Mariana Brussoni from UBC to talk about walking to school on CBC’s BC Almanac program.

Give it a listen. The fun begins at the 25-minute mark.

Beyond IWalk

Wondering what happened to International Walk to School (IWalk) Week? You’re not alone. Ten years ago, over a million students from across the world participated in the week-long celebration of walking that is (was?) IWalk. Today, the event is little more than a memory.

But fear not – two local organizations are keeping the spirit of IWalk alive, organizing events that schools can participate in during what was traditionally IWalk Week to encourage families to walk and roll to school, and celebrate the benefits of active travel.

All schools in BC can register for Walk and Wheel to School Week through the DASH BC Website, joining schools across the province and receiving resources and support.

Schools in Metro Vancouver can take part in TransLink’s inaugural “I Love Transit” week. Students travel free on transit all week long, and teachers can enter contests to bring transit learning into their classroom – or is it the other way around?