In this newsletter: 

 

Neighbourhood Walkabouts, Regional Travel Trends, Westshore External Partners Network and more...

 

Neighbourhood Walkabouts Underway

 

Infrastructure surrounding a school can set the stage for how families travel to and from school. Neighbourhood walkabouts provide an opportunity for stakeholders to come together and assess the transportation landscape and consider what could be improved to provide a safer and more comfortable environment for students and families to use active transportation. 

 

Municipal engineers and planners, school district staff, local law enforcement, health professionals and school staff and parents are all invited to look at routes in the neighbourhood to identify what education, enforcement and engineering interventions could be made to help create a safer space to walk and bike to school.

 

The walkabout route is informed by feedback collected through take-home surveys as well as comments from parents and students about areas of concern.  After the short walkabout, attendees participate in a debrief discussion about solutions and opportunities to identified challenges. This discussion informs the creation of an action plan for each of the schools.

 

 

 

What's Next?

 

After the neighbourhood walkabouts are complete, School Travel Planning Facilitators begin to put together an action plan. The action plan identifies activities already underway, actions that each player will complete and where there is interest and support to organize student education or engagement projects. The action plan outlines timelines and responsibilities for each of the actions and is used to track progress over the next 8 months. 

 

Check out where we are in the school travel planning process

 

Regional Data Trends

 

This past fall, take-home surveys were sent home with students from each of the schools participating in the Active and Safe Routes to School program. Students filled out the surveys with their parents and reported on how they travel to/from school, how far they live from their school and reasons for using their chosen travel mode. 

 

Here are some of the regional trends and themes we found: 

 

   

   

   

 

Winter Cycling in the Capital Region

 

 

Residents of the capital region found themselves riding through the slush and snow a number of times this winter. Though it doesn't happen often, it is important to know how to ride in winter conditions so that you are prepared for any kind of weather. 

 

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind while riding in the winter: 

 

Ride Straight & Upright - especially while turning. Try to keep your bike in an upright position when turning. 

 

Test Your Brakes - on a section of your ride where you feel comfortable, test out your rear brake to understand how it's working. Only use your front brake when you are riding straight. 

 

Adjust - your speed and route based on conditions. Try cycling along less busy streets and allow yourself more time to get to your destination. 

 

Take the Lane - if the bike lane is full of snow and there isn't a dedicated space for cyclists, don't be afraid to take the lane and ride with cars on the plowed section of the road. 

 

Lights on - even in the daytime. It's important to be visible to other road users during blustery conditions. 

 

Dress warmly - make sure that you have enough layers and some extra clothing for your final destination. Try using hand and foot warmers on extra chilly days. 

 

Westshore External Partners Network

 

On Tuesday, February 14th, representatives from four neighbouring municipalities, School District #62 (Sooke), RCMP, and six schools joined together to discuss Active and Safe Routes to School for children in the western communities of the capital region. The participating schools in this region are Ecole Poirier Elementary, Journey Middle, Hans Helgesen Elementary, Ruth King Elementary, Sangster Elementary, and Royal Bay Secondary. 

School Travel Planning Facilitator Ebony Logins facilitated the workshop, where each school's mode share, concerns, on-site walkabout, and future opportunities were discussed. Each school is unique. Journey had the highest rate of cyclists at 5%. Poirier had the most carpooling at 10%. Almost 50% of Ruth King's population walks to school and 35% of Royal Bay students take the city or school bus. Sangster and Royal Bay share concerns about speed and road share on Metchosin Road. Participants also discussed whether there are opportunities for interconnection between schools participating in the Active and Safe Routes to School program and other feeder schools in the area. 

Through the month of March, the schools will be hosting community walkabouts with stakeholders from ICBC, BC Transit, public health nurses, local community groups, parents, students, and teachers.

 

Travel is a school district priority with last year's transportation forum and fast growing district. 

 

Celebrating Success!

 

Ruth King Elementary 

 

Congrats to Ruth King Elementary for having 47% of students walking to school and another 4% biking for an overall total of 51% of students using active transportation. 

 

KELSET Elementary 

 

As a result of the discussions during the school-site walkabout at KELSET Elementary, School District 63 has already begun some school-site improvements to help make it a safer space for students to actively travel to and from school. 

 

Improvements include:

  • upgrading a well-used pedestrian path leading to the front of the school
  • creating a new fence entrance that leads to the school field
  • researching options to add a new pedestrian path leading to the front of the school to minimize the number of students using the crosswalk

Sir James Douglas Elementary & South Park Family School

 

The City of Victoria is providing each of the Victoria schools with a bike repair station. The station will provide opportunities for curriculum around bike repair. 

 

Coming Soon!

 

WAY2GO! Girls emPOWERED2Go

 

This educational campaign led by Island Health and the University of Victoria (UVic) uses powerful stories and experiences from girls and their families living in the capital region to shift attitudes and perceptions regarding active travel. The goal is to increase knowledge of the health-related benefits of active transportation and to encourage more girls between 7 and 15 to get physically active by cycling, walking, rolling and taking public transit. Now through March, UVic will facilitate discussions in schools to identify barriers to active travel.

 

As a part of the initial research, Island Health invites you to participate in a Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale Survey to share your perspectives as a parent or guardian on what features of your neighborhood impact your child’s walking habits. The survey is available online and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. 

 

The survey is available online here until June 30. 

 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact:

Ms. Claire Sauvage-Mar (University of Victoria Masters Candidate) at csauvage@uvic.ca OR 250-361-6102,

Dr. Patti-Jean Naylor, (University of Victoria Professor) at pjnaylor@uvic.ca OR 250-721-8373, or

Dr. Joan Wharf-Higgins (University of Victoria Professor) at jwharfhi@uvic.ca OR 250-721-8377.

 

 

Subscribe to this newsletter. Visit the CRD's Active and Safe Routes to School webpage.

 

 

                

 

 

 

 



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