School Travel Planning in Vernon

The City of Vernon's comprehensive STP Municipal Stakeholders Committee meets regularly under the leadership of an STP facilitator who is staff TDM person in the City Planning department. The committee approved two new pilot schools, Mission Hill and Silver Star Elementary Schools, that completed their surveys, traffic observations and walkabouts in fall 2010. As part of this process, one week-long traffic count took place with twelve parent volunteers, under the leadership of a City traffic engineer. Action Planning is underway.

Back to School September 2011 saw a new school join the national initative, École Beairsto Elementary, speareheaded by parents. Baseline classroom and family surveys, and a walkabout with stakeholders, took place in October 2011.

All schools now have School Travel Plans, and Action Plan implementation will be ongoing.

At three established STP schools; Ellison, Okanagan Landing and Harwood, artwork students created is now part of the 30km/hr school zone signs! This exciting project is believed to be the first of it's kind in Canada. This sign is at Harwood Elementary on 20th Street where there are newly-built facilities for walkers and cyclists, that are gratefully welcomed by the school and positively described by a resident as creating a 'meeting place' for his neighbourhood community.

Bicycling strategies have a higher focus in 2011 now that the City and the School District have funded CanBike2 training for teachers at Vernon schools. This exciting news helps a sustainable approach, allowing trained teachers to give bike skill education to students.

Vernon Community Police organized bike safety rodeos at each STP school, Harwood, Ellison and Okanagan Landing, in spring 2010. All is recorded in a comprehensive School Travel Plan document for each school, that details indepth data collection and resulting Action Plans. Extensive built infrastructure projects better enable active school travel that benefits all Vernon residents. The school surveying helped cement infrastructure placement.

The new active travel school year in fall 2010 kicked off with schools taking part in International Car Free Day, organized in Vernon by the City TDM department. Okanagan Landing Elementary were invited to Spirit Square to sing the 'Walking School Bus' Song.

Okanagan Landing Elementary's STP school committee has been creative. To work out how to manage their school site automobile, school bus and pedestrian traffic, models were used on a site map.

At downtown Harwood Elementary two walking school buses have been started a couple of days a week, and parents have initiated an informal walking school bus at Ellison Elementary, following a regional HASTE webinar presentation for interested school communities.

One City-led contest amongst the first three STP schools is unique in BC. Students created artwork and each of three pieces chosen will become permanent tabs on regular school zone signs. This is aimed at vehicle drivers, reminding them why they should slow down. All submitted artwork was displayed at Vernon's Spirit Square on Earth Day April 22, 2010.

Singer Charlotte Diamond donated time to perform her own walking school bus and environmental themed songs at Okanagan Landing Elementary to help promote safe walking.


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