A new pilot program in Penticton involves two local elementary schools and aims to identify traffic issues that will allow children more safety when they walk or roll to school.
“The purpose of the Safe Routes to School initiative is to improve safety for all road users surrounding each school, while promoting an environment for students to walk, wheel and roll to school wherever possible,” said deputy mayor Helena Konanz in a press release Monday.
“By implementing new measures and creating safe routes to travel, the school community will have more confidence to use active modes of transportation, which offers many health benefits and results in fewer cars on the road.”
The municipality is working with Carmi and Uplands elementary schools on the initiative. The eventual goal is to extend the program to other schools.
This process involves engaging with the school community and leveraging expertise from engineering, bylaw and RCMP to assess existing traffic impacts and transportation infrastructure and identify opportunities for improvement.
"City staff and consultants have now conducted site visits at both schools, meeting with parents, students, educators and PAC groups to examine well-used routes and brainstorm opportunities to increase active travel to and from school," reads the city's press release.
“This might include new infrastructure such as traffic calming, road crossings or new sidewalks, and can also include actions relating to programming and education, such as ‘walking school buses’ or bike safety education,” added Kristen Dixon, general manager of infrastructure.
“These plans will be living documents that we can review annually with the schools to determine if the changes are having the desired results, and to reflect any new challenges and opportunities.”
School District No. 67 board chair James Palanio is grateful for the partnership.
“The Safe Routes to School initiative will offer an action plan that will be based on feedback from parents and students, which is a critical component of this work. We look forward to the continued partnership and seeing the draft plan later this year.”