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

Original Article:

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.

Bike to School Week Champion – Lauren Lan

We always seem to tell ourselves that change is a good thing – but what about the things in life that never change, and still remain awesome. Like the feeling you get when you ride a bike (see above photo for example). Fully appreciating this “feeling” is why Lauren Lan from Courtenay BC, is this week’s Bike to School Week Champion.

And don’t forget to register your school for Bike to School Week, whether you’re in Metro Vancouver or anywhere else in the Province.

“I knew first-hand the benefits of kids cycling and wanted to share that opportunity with the rest of the school.” – Lauren Lan

Lauren Lan is a parent and PAC secretary at École Robb Road in Courtenay, BC, and like many Bike to School Week organizers across the province she is excited to get kids on their bikes and riding. Last year, the school had strong support from the PAC but also from local businesses in the community for BtSW, which allowed them to give away a number of varying prizes. The school used a passport program for tracking students’ biking progress. Every student received a sheet on which they were able to track their daily number of kilometers traveled, and they also placed stickers on a large road map for every day that they biked to school. At the end of the week the total number of kilometers were tallied for the entire school.

Lauren encouraged kids who lived farther away from school to cycle by setting up “Kiss and Go” zones where children could get dropped off away from school and bike in with family and friends. A notable success of Bike to School Week at École Robb Road has been the pledge programs, which have raised enough money to fund the purchase and installation of a covered bicycle rack at the school. This has made it more convenient for kids to cycle and lock their bikes in a safe place, and shows the school’s commitment to cycling.

When asked about planning a successful Bike to School Week, Lauren recommends having different activities that will appeal to kids of different ages. She suggests creating a visual display of the total number of kilometers cycled by the school during the week, and has also found that sending out a survey to parents to determine the barriers to cycling can be very helpful in planning the big event.

Congratulations to Lauren for keeping it “wheel”!

We’ve got a few more champions to profile as we get closer to Bike to School Week so stay tuned! And don’t forget to register your school for Bike to School Week by following the links below:

Registration for Metro Vancouver schools.

Registration for schools outside of Metro Vancouver.

Ernette Hutchings-Mason