With so many back-to-school stories focussing on traffic, it was a real treat to have CBC’s On The Coast program reach out to us to talk about how to make your return to school trip an active, safe and healthy one. OTC’s new(?!) ace reporter Margaret Gallagher spoke to our very own Kulvir Mann about HASTe’s work with schools, and ways that parents can make walking a part of their back-to school routine.
In 2014, HASTe facilitated the School Travel Planning process at Sir Sanford Flemming elementary. Located at a busy intersection, the school’s parents were concerned about the safety of students waiting to cross the street.
To address these concerns, the City of Vancouver modified the pedestrian signal so that students wouldn’t need to activate it: during the day, the pedestrian signal always accompanies the appropriate traffic signal. And the Vancouver School Board built a safe refuge at the edge of the school grounds in which students could wait for the light to change.
Flemming’s principal tried several times to let the school community know about the changes. But walking families, accustomed to having to “press the button” to activate the pedestrian signal, kept venutring to the edge of the intersection to do so.
So the school turned to its best and brightest to spread the word and let students know about the new system and procedure. The results, pictured above, speak for themselves.
We never got to see the artwork the students produced, but I recently came across a picture of it featured on the City of Vancouver’s School Active Travel Planning webpage, and had to share it. To paraphrase a great lady, never doubt that a group of small, thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.