School Travel Planning (STP) is being used across Canada. It is a community based approach to increase the number of children choosing active transportation modes to get to and from school. School Travel Planning works to uncover any active transportation challenge in the school communities, and identify how they best can be overcome.
Part of the process of developing a STP is determining any barriers that may prevent children from walking and biking to school. With the parent surveys, walkabout, traffic observations and discussion groups, the STP Committee identifies their hot spots in the school neighbourhood. City engineering staff then determines what infrastructure suits the neighbourhoods and if necessary, plans for changes in the school neighbourhood to increase safety.
This fall, City of Vernon is working with HASTe BC (Hub for Active School Travel) and Alexis Park Elementary School. In 2013 and 2014 the city received a grant from PARACHUTE (Preventing Injuries. Saving Lives) to facilitate the implementation of the new Pace Car Program. It was launched at Okanagan Landing and Silver Star Elementary Schools and East Hill Community Church, to assist in the reduction of vehicle speed in school zones. This program was met with success and City Council has directed staff to expand the Pace Car program to work in partnership with Alexis Park, Ellison Elementary and Harwood schools this year.
To date, City of Vernon has undertaken five School Travel Plans for Ecole Beairsto, Ellison, Harwood, Mission Hill Elementary School, Silver Star and Okanagan Landing Elementary schools.
One program and action plan identified in these school travel plans (STP) is International Walk to School Month – or iwalk
. On October 15, Ellison Elementary School and the City of Vernon are celebrating iwalk.
Vernon’s Mayor Rob Sawatzky and Councillors Cunningham, O’Keefe and Quiring will lead Ellison students in designated Walking School Bus routes
that were developed by the Ellison STP committee and Parent Advisory Council. Each participating student will receive a VernonMoves
cinch or lunch bag and a chance to win a draw prize. Light refreshments will be served. Ellison students who wish to participate need to choose their route and sign up in their school classroom. On October 15, each Walking School Bus will leave at the start point at 7:45 am.
We will pick up students and parents along the way to school!
Walking School Bus Locations
- 43rd Street at 19th Avenue
- Allenby Way at Heritage Drive
- OKL Road at Myriad Road)
- Scott Road at Tronson Road
We encourage all students to join in the fun in creating your own walking school bus at your child’s school with a group of school friends and a volunteer leader walking to school! October is iwalk Month around the world
School Travel Planning brings community together to develop the best active routes to and from school. Benefits are:
- Increased physical activity for good health
- Students have improved focus, arrive more alert and ready to learn with active commute to school
- Physical activity has been linked to improved academic performance
- An active travel to school can have a positive effect on children’s mental health by improving their happiness
- Improved children’s safety and safer neighbourhoods
- More pedestrians mean more ‘eyes on the street’, and children and family walking groups get to know their neighbourhoods
- Reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, cleaner air helps the children who suffer from asthma and other air quality-related