HASTe Blog

Back In My Day...

Submitted by: Omar

We've all heard it before: adults regaling children with stories about how much harder or different things were when they were kids.

Image by Motor City Radio Flashbacks

The notion has become something of a cliche, but that doesn't make it any less true. It is often hard to reconcile the way adults remember the world and their lives, and the way children experience things today.

Earlier this summer, Slate magazine published results of a survey that asked respondents "What were you allowed to do as a kid?" One of their most interesting findings related to when children were allowed to walk to school. Learn more after the break.

Slate journalists looked at the answers their survey received - over 6000 people responded! - and broke them down by decade. When it comes to walking to school, the results aren't necessarily surprising, but they are startling. The majority of respondents who were children in the 1940's told Slate that they were  walking to school alone by the 2nd or 3rd grade:

Fifty years later, things had changed dramatically. Most younger respondents, who were children in the 1990's, told slate that they didn't start walking to school by themselves until they were in middle school - so, around 7th grade. That's about five years older than children 50 years earlier:

Findings in this area are mirrored in others covered by the survey, and together they add up to paint a pretty conclusive picture: children in North America today are less free - more restrictions and less independence - than they were a generation or two ago. Read the full article on Slate to learn more about how walking to school, and a host of other activities you probably participated in and took for granted when you were a child, has changed since back in the day.


Vancouver's Awards of Excellence

Submitted by: Omar

Last night, HASTe staff joined 131 other nominees at the Vancouver Playhouse theater for the City of Vancouver's inaugural Awards of Excellence event.

The room was packed with the City's best and brightest, people and organizations working to make Vancouver a better city for all. HASTe was nominated for our work with Vancouver's schools in the category of Greenest City Leadership.

How did we do? Find out after the break.

Judy Graves and Jimmy Pattison were awarded the "Freedom of the City" for their life-long efforts on the City's behalf, and dozens of youth, individuals and organizations were recognized for their work to make Vancouver a better place to work, live and be.

The award event was a fun night full of inspiring people and stories - here's hoping it becomes and annual event! - but for us, well, it was an honor just to be nominated. For a full breakdown of who won what, head over the to Vancouver Sun's coverage of the event.

The Future of Transportation in Metro Vancouver

Submitted by: Omar

With our work on schools and communities, HASTe doesn't often get to focus on the BIG picture. But in this case we'll make an exception, because something happened recently that will shape how people move around their neighborhoods, and the region, for years to come.

The Mayor's Council recently released its vision for the future of transportation investment and funding in Metro Vancouver. We have an overview of the highlights, and links to the details, after the break.

The investment plan developed by the Mayor'd Council will form the basis of a provincial referendum, scheduled for the Fall, on the future of transportation investment and funding in Metro Vancouver for the foreseeable future. The details of the plan can be found here, a 4 page overview can be found here and the Moving In a Liveable Region website does a great job of providing details, context and analysis - but if those sound like a lot of TL;DR, the Vancouver Mayor's office has created this handy infographic that covers both the big picture and key bits. Enjoy!

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!

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