October is International Walk to School month (IWALK)
in Canada we're celebrating IWALK Day on October 10 and IWALK Week is Oct. 8-12. Schools can register here and we'll send you stickers for students and promotional posters.
Why not make IWALK the first of many walking/cycling activities throughout the school year? Take the iCANwalk to school...can you? pledge here and track the kilometres your school travels to school and at school - you will be eligible for prizes through our draw of participating schools in June 2013, provided by Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Incentive items for active school travel initiatives can be ordered through M.P. Russo & Associates www.mprusso.com.
Let them know you heard of them through us!
iCANwalk to school...can you? 2011/12 prize winners
- Highgate Public School, Markham
- Notre Dame Catholic School, Newmarket
- P.L. Robertson Public School, Milton
- St. Cecilia Catholic School, Toronto
- Winchester Public School, Brooklin
- Saint Matthew Catholic School, Waterloo
- Academie de la Tamise, London
- Viscount Alexander Public School, Ottawa
- Don Mills Middle School, Toronto
- Mitchell Hepburn Public School, St. Thomas
Canada Walk's WALK Friendly Ontario
This assessment tool, under development, will be used to measure the walkability of Ontario municipalities that apply for a designation as a walk friendly community. The program aims to recognize municipalities for their efforts by awarding bronze, silver, gold and platinum designations. Four communities across the province will be chosen to participate in a pilot of the assessment tool later this fall. Communities interested in participating in the pilot can find more information and complete the Expression of Interest form at www.walkfriendly.ca. While you're there, check out the many resources designed to assist communities to prepare for the first intake of walk friendly applications in 2013.
We believe the interest in the walk friendly designation will be high - check out how these communities are working to provide active and healthy transportation choices for their residents:
Participants in Ontario Communities walkON, "Oshawa is proud to join some of the most walk friendly cities in the world," said Oshawa Mayor Henry. "By signing this International Charter, Oshawa City Council has committed to promoting the benefits of walking and to work to improve the walkability of our great city." The Mayor signed the International Charter for Walking on June 26. Downtown Oshawa has undergone a dramatic walk friendly revitalization which has been augmented by the addition of 2,200 students studying at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The downtown core has come alive with students and business folk who keep the cafes and businesses busy and the streets vibrant and alive (see more).
Oshawa has also continued to do a fantastic job of developing its waterfront and riverside multi-use (non-motorized) trail system which earned it a bronze bicycle friendly designation from Share the Road in 2011.
We look forward to hearing about more walk friendly improvements in Oshawa.
With Oshawa there are now over 40 Canadian communities that have signed the International Charter for Walking. [more]
Sign the Active Travel Charter for Canadian Children and Youth - available online and in hardcopy for download.
THE TOWN OF AJAX continues its walk friendly leadership by rolling out a public education campaign, "Ajax Moves 3 Ways." This timely campaign, a first for rapidly growing Durham Region, is designed to focus on the interactions between motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. The goal is to reduce the number of collisions and injuries amongst all road users, especially the most vulnerable. A social marketing leader, the Town of Ajax is using a dedicated website, facebook, twitter, YouTube, media releases and a presence at community events to spread the word.
We expect to hear more great developments from the Town of Ajax as they are in the process of hiring a full-time active transportation coordinator to oversee the implementation of their extensive Pedestrian & Cycling Master Plan, available here.
STRATFORD was a participating community in our Ontario Communities walkON project, and they played host to the unique public art installation, "Play Me, I'm Yours" in August. The creator of this art installation is British artist Luke Jerram. Several second hand pianos where decorated by local artists and put in prominent public spaces. "The pianos are aimed to provoke people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape," says Jerram. "Placing a piano in a public space acts as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space." Toronto also experienced "Play Me I'm Yours" in July, as an event to promote the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para Pan American Games [view here].
The THUNDER BAY Walkability Committee will be formalized in the fall of 2012 in response to enthusiasm expressed by the community at last year's Ontario Communities WalkON event with Gil Penalosa (8-80 Cities) and a June Green Communities' WalkON Strategy workshop, both hosted by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit and EcoSuperior. A strategic plan emerged from the Workshop, along with a Mission statement: "More people walking for health, leisure and transportation in safe, beautiful environments". Strategic directions include partnership development, social marketing, and advocacy around policy and infrastructure improvements. Future efforts will be around Official Plan (land use) policies, and a campaign inviting people to join the "Walk-Friendly Revolution".
OTTAWA's new comprehensive Transportation Demand Management strategy identifies School Travel Planning as its main tool targeting schools and commits to continued financial support through 2014 [more info]. In addition, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has released a new Healthy Eating & Active Living strategy that identifies active travel as a strategic priority. The strategy includes a commitment to roll out Active and Safe Routes to School initiatives at 30 schools and OPH are involved in STP school-level and municipal-level committees.
COLLINGWOOD's Art on the Street is back for a second summer! The downtown core has come to life with art banners on 40 lamp posts and a dozen one-of-a-kind art chairs on sidewalks, created by local artists. The project, a collaboration of Connect Downtown, the Downtown Collingwood Business Improvement Area and the Town of Collingwood, was made possible through sponsorships from community minded businesses. "Positioning the artwork throughout the downtown area will entice people to tour around to see the banners and enjoy the creatively-painted chairs. It will provide another walking tour opportunity for residents and visitors to experience our culture, arts and heritage," adds Bradley Green, Chair of Decorating for the BIA.
Ontario Communities walkON case study now available for download! Get it here.
Windsor-Essex ASRTS Success
May was a busy month for the Windsor-Essex Active & Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) team. Two schools, St-Jean-Baptiste and Amherstburg, launched the ASRTS program in Amherstburg while a third school, Princess Elizabeth Public School in Windsor, launched their program.
l'École élémentaire St-Jean-Baptiste in Amherstburg kicked off an improved walking route with a school-wide walkabout accompanied by the Police Chief and Deputy Chief, town planners, public health and school board representatives. At Amherstburg Public School the event was also well attended. Each school's designated walking routes now have street signs along the route, which also serve as checkpoints for the walking group leaders - walking school buses are being organized (see more).
Princess Elizabeth Public School in Windsor held its ASRTS launch event on May 8. Over 200 students participated in the launch of the program and they were joined by City Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac, ward representative for the City of Windsor.
The Windsor-Essex ASRTS project, led by the Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and chair of the local ASRTS committee, provided signs for the improved walking routes, made possible by funding from The Heart and Stroke Foundation's SPARK grant. Local media were on hand and have provided excellent coverage of the ASRTS progress in the region.
For details on the ASRTS program in Windsor/Essex, which includes the following schools, click here: J.A. McWilliam Public School, Hugh Beaton Public School, Princess Elizabeth Public School, St. Jules Catholic School, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.
| |Velo-City Global Conference
In June, representatives from around the world attended the Velo-City Global Conference in Vancouver to exchange ideas on policy, promotion and provision for cyclists. Katherine Glowacz and Jamie Stuckless from Green Communities Canada were on hand to learn from global experts and give a presentation on the bicycle education programs currently underway at schools in Ottawa and Southern Ontario. The Child & Youth focused symposiums were well attended throughout the conference and provided an opportunity to learn about existing bicycle education programs for students, such as the UK's Bikeability, and projects that focus on the fun aspect of cycling, like Copenhagen's Bike Parks. A focal point of the week was the Charter of Vancouver on Children and Cycling, launched by the European Cyclists' Federation. Keynote speakers emphasized that, if municipalities want to make real increases in their bicycling modal share, they need to have a network of connected and segregated bike facilities, a speed limit of 30kph, well planned people-friendly neighbourhoods and programs that encourage women and children to get on their bikes.
Making the case for walking: RBC-Pembina Home Location Study
This report issued in July 2012 examined the preferences for home location attributes in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This study supported what we believed to be true:
Cost and limited affordable options drive home buyers to car-dependent neighbourhoods.
- Where we live is as important as what we live in
- GTA residents overwhelmingly prefer walkable, "location efficient" homes
- Less time behind the wheel is preferred
- We want our suburbs to be more like cities with mixed-use neighbourhoods and access to frequent rapid transit
Walkability and Economic Development
A study issued by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce concluded that "walkable neighbourhoods should be considered economic infrastructure" and highlighted the especially important role walkable environments have in the creation and success of creative industries. Read the report here.
Listen to Manitoba's Green Action Centre's Jackie Avent talk about their experiences as a partner in the national dissemination of School Travel Planning through the Children's Mobility, Health and Happiness CLASP (Coalitions Linking Action and Science for Prevention) initiative, one of 7 funded projects with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, here.
A new version of the Active & Safe Routes to School case study is available, prepared by Cullbridge Marketing for the Tools of Change web site. View it here.
Walking to school has a champion in Toronto -the City's new chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat. Check out Jennifer's Regina Ted Talk. She is also a parent who tells the story of how she encouraged her daughter to walk to school, overcoming the barriers one by one. A must listen for all parents!
Submissions to the Ontario Healthy Kids Panel due September 30. The purpose of the panel is to provide the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care with a report outlining recommendations on how to best meet the goal of reducing Ontario's childhood obesity by 20% in five years and improve the health of children. Note that submissions can be whatever format you prefer and there are no guidelines as to length or content. Submissions to be forwarded to ChildhoodObesity@ontario.ca. Further information can be found at:
Rain-friendly public spaces - just a good idea or what's coming in the future? See here for an interesting discussion from Vancouver's 30 year transportation plan.
Charlottetown, PEI, will soon launch their "Walk Your City" way-finding project that will see signage posted prominently throughout the city, an initiative that is part of the City's recently adopted Regional Active Transportation Plan, which can be found here. Charlottetown continues to develop their "Routes for Health" - 40 km of the walking and cycling trail system that loops the entire City boundary, connecting many neighborhoods and communities. View that map here.
The City of Charlottetown is focusing on a number of initiatives related to creating a more sustainable City and some of their sustainability videos can be found here.
From the folks at HASTe BC comes the iSchoolTravel app, now available online, as well as via a free iPad app, for students, teachers and parents across Canada!
The iSchoolTravel app calculates distances students travel to and from school by a variety of modes, determines calories burned while travelling actively, and provides the cost of fuel savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions. iSchoolTravel is also a great tool for teachers and program administrators - it can be preconfigured for a specific classroom or school with school location and active travel attitude survey questions.
The reporting capability provides user-friendly data on current travel modes, distances and impacts, plus survey responses from students. The data can be used in the classroom as a means of measuring pre and post active school travel program patterns.
Vital Signs report on walking
This report from the U.S. National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released in August, calls for action: "Better spaces and more places for walking can get people more active."