Above: All of the partners involved in the Brant-Brantford Ontario Active School Travel initiative joined together to celebrate the official funding announcement from Green Communities Canada on October 25.
Active Transportation Funding to Promote Walking and Wheeling to School
Active transportation by City of Brantford and County of Brant-area students will receive a major boost with a new project designed to encourage walking and wheeling on the journey to school.
The 16-month project aims to work with school communities including staff, students, parents, and neighbours, along with County, City and school-board partners to identify, plan, and implement both educational outreach and municipal projects to have a direct impact on safety and walkability around schools. Six schools with different sets of needs will be taking part. The schools located within the County of Brant include: North Ward School, Cobblestone Elementary School and Sacred Heart School. The schools located within the City of Brantford include: Walter Gretzky Elementary School, Saint Basil Catholic Elementary School and St. Gabriel School.
Right: Greg Anderson, Chair of the Grand Erie District School Board.
“A big part of this project will be identifying some of the barriers preventing students and families from utilizing active modes of transportation such as walking and biking to get to and from school, and then taking steps to remove those barriers,” said Philip Kuckyt, Manager of Transportation Services with Brant Haldimand Norfolk Student Transportation Services, who is leading the project. “For example, implementing traffic-calming measures and improving drop-off zones on the roadways and in front of the school, installing bike racks and identifying locations where crossing guards are present might be some of the ways to increase safety and build momentum around active transportation options. Promoting active transportation is win-win-win: it improves safety in and around our school zones, lessens the environmental impact of vehicle traffic and promotes physical and mental fitness so students can be most successful on their educational journey.”
Right: Rick Petrella, Chair of the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board.
A total of $120,000 in funding for the projects is provided through Ontario Active School Travel, a program of Green Communities Canada (GCC) made possible through financial support from the Government of Ontario. GCC is a non-profit organization that has been a leader in promoting active school travel in Ontario for more than two decades. Over the coming months, project leads will be seeking input from stakeholders, identifying the needs of each school community and implementing unique projects to eliminate and overcome the barriers to active school travel.
"In recent decades we have seen a significant decline in walking to school among children across the province,” said Kate Berry, Ontario Active School Travel program director with Green Communities Canada. "This initiative, including Ontario government funding and rich local partnerships, is a great opportunity to reverse this downward trend and rebuild a culture of active school travel. We look forward to collaborating with and supporting our local partners in the City of Brantford and the County of Brant to implement this exciting initiative.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Brant Haldimand Norfolk Student Transportation Services on this exciting initiative,” said Stacey Ellins, Supervisor of Recreation Services for the County of Brant. “There are so many benefits to walking and rolling to school for your child which include promoting physical activity and social time. Socializing with neighbourhood children before and after school builds social cohesion within the community. Walking and rolling to school also reduces the number of vehicles on the roads which lessens emissions in the area and helps to calm traffic. We are excited to work with families to remove barriers and help children learn to safely walk and roll to school.”