School Travel Planning in New Westminster

In addition to three elementary schools on the CLASP project, the City of New Westminster funded the Cool Routes to School Program for their two middle schools; Ecole Glenbrook Middle grades 6-8, and Queensborough Middle grades 5-8, and these two schools joined the national CLASP STP pilot. Both walking and bicycling are part of their School Travel Plan development. Surveys and a walkabout have taken place and student participation best route to school and sensory mapping classes with HASTE facilitators. Exciting new Bike Pool training occurred, and a Geographer’s Club was created.

The City’s Engineering department with HASTe created Best Walking Routes to School pamphlets for all their elementary schools – developed using infrastructure and traffic count data, feedback from family surveys, and from walkabouts with all stakeholders. Map pamphlets for the Middle Schools, with writing geared toward the older students, are now complete, as well as School Travel Plans for all five CLASP project schools.

Follow-up surveys were very positive, active travel is embraced by school communities. The community partnership of stakeholders and in-class student engagement that empowers strategic action, does make a difference.

Bike Pool training plans were put in place to continue with the Middle School students. Here are some trailblazers, who learned and had fun. There was welcome funding from the City of New Westminster for training more students.

Three elementary schools; Richard McBride K-5, Lord Tweedsmuir K-7 and FW Howay K-5, were part of the CLASP STP pilot. A Municipal Stakeholder Steering Committee was put in place and walkabouts took place with stakeholders who included staff and persons from city engineering and bylaws, school administration and parent councils, ICBC and public health.The photo below shows stakeholder Deanna, a healthy living specialist with Fraser Health, helping with traffic observation.

Some Action Items included built traffic calming, and the Cool Routes to School Program – where one classroom in each STP school was the lead on helping promote active school travel using HASTE Lesson Plans. This student-led approach coordinated with parent ideas and stakeholder support to effectively take active travel strategies forward for the whole school community. At Richard McBride students exceeded the principal’s challenge to walk a collective 500 days in two weeks, they reached almost 2400 days! The principal revealed his green hair at a special wrap-up concert featuring a special dance the lead class students performed with Wiil Stroet – he and his band performed at all three STP schools, with ‘I’m gonna walk’ and the ‘Bike safety boogie’ part of the fun.

Another higly successful event (pictured below) took place at FW Howay Elementary, a Bike Fest for all three STP elementary schools, in a partnership with the City, Fraser Health and the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition (VACC), now HUB Cycling.