HASTe Blog

Cross This Way

Submitted by: Omar

New York City's Department of Transportation recently dropped a fun video meant to teach children about pedestrian safety in a clear and engaging way. But beneath the catchy music, good intentions and excellent structure, there's a not so subtle message that we think kids shouldn't be learning.

We'll dissect the DOT's video, and discuss whether it backs up the claim that "everybody on the street deserves respect" after the break.

Scenario 1 shows a young woman using a crosswalk while looking at her phone. Now, crossing the street while distracted is clearly a bad idea. But pedestrians using a crosswalk have the right of way in an intersection. While the pedestrians is chastised for not looking out for her own safety, the illegal behavior of the driver, who charges into and occupied crosswalk and is clearly in the wrong, is not addressed.

Scenario 2 is pretty cut and dry. If you're crossing a street mid-block, you should be watching for and yielding to vehicles, bicycles, etc. using the road. This is good advice, and a subject that is often missed during discussions about pedestrian safety. Kudos to the DOT for including it.

In Scenario 3, two children are crossing at a crosswalk when a car blows through the Stop sign. Again the blame is assigned to the pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way when using a crosswalk, and that stop sign the kids are supposed to respect? Its clearly meant for the driver, who ignores it but gives the kids a permissive wave of the hand to cross once they've shown her due respect.

Again, the video is engaging and its advice - be attentive, careful and respectful to other road users - is sound. But some of its portrayals of common traffic scenarios reinforce negative and unsafe understandings of the relationship between cars and people. If we want children to form positive associations with, active and sustainable modes of transportation, teaching them that pedestrians are second class citizens in a car's world sends the wrong message.

New HASTe BC Newsletter: Spring 2014

Submitted by: Omar

The latest edition of the HASTe BC newsletter dropped yesterday, with exciting news about our provincial funding, updates on our recent work on Bike to School Week and building local capacity for School Travel Planning on Vancouver Island, and more.

Read the full newsletter here, and/or sign up to make sure you don't miss out on future newsletters - we generally send out a new one every couple of months, and they're always chalk full of school active-travel goodness!

Bike to School Week 2014

Submitted by: Omar

Bike to School Week 2014 is a wrap! Thanks to all the students, families, teachers and staff who participated.

We hope everyone had a great time riding and rolling to school - and keeps it up until the end of the year. Don't forget to tell us about your week and let us know how many students, teachers and staff rode their bikes. Every school that enters their results is eligible for extra prizes: $20 gift certificates to MEC for the school's BTSW coordinator!

HASTe School Travel Planning in Oak Bay

Submitted by: Omar

Last week HASTe staff hosted a School Travel Planning (STP) Workshop in Oak Bay, Victoria BC.

This 3 hour workshop is designed to help communities learn more about School Travel Planning, and how it can help solve their seemingly never-ending school traffic congestion problems. Learn more about the HASTe STP workshop and how to bring it to your community after the break.

Oak Bay Councilor Michelle Kirby sees the value in a School District 61 School Travel Planning process. In less than a month, she single handedly rallied community champions and stakeholders from across the Capital Regional District. With close to 40 participants attending last week's workshop, HASTe had an opportunity to share present School Travel Planning success stories to representatives from across the region, and inspire SD 61 to get things rolling for Fall 2014. Councilor Kirby is currently tallying up a list of grants and funds from a number of different sources in order to fund a shared facilitator to pilot School Travel Planning in Oak Bay, Sanich and Victoria for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Oak Bay workshop is one of three FREE workshops HASTe is offering to interested municipalities this year to help build capacity and interest for School Travel Planning. Our STP workshop offers a unique opportunity to bring key community stakeholders together to A) learn more about School Travel Planning and B) create next steps and actions to bring the program to their schools.

If you're interested in having HASTe host a workshop in your community, please get in touch.

To read more about the workshop and Michelle's efforts in Oak Bay, click here.

Pilot Project Moves Speed Signs to the Middle of the Road

Submitted by: Omar

Last summer, a pilot project in the City of Ottawa moved reduce speed-zone signs to a new and unexpected location - the middle of the road - in an effort to get motorists to take more notice the signs and, hopefully, obey them.

Learn more about this new strategy after the break.

The pilot project tested the signs as a low-cost way of keeping drivers from speeding through low-speed zones. The yellow signs stand about a meter and a half tall. They are permanently affixed the street, but flexible, to be durable despite being exposed to motor vehicle traffic.

The idea was borrowed from the City of Montreal, where it has been found effective in reducing vehicle speeds. The City of Ottawa kept the signs up until the Winter, at which point they were removed to facilitate snow removal; this Spring, evaluation of the pilot project's impact will determine whether the program should be continued or expanded. Stay tuned.

 

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