Walkolution News - April 2013  
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Christchurch, New Zealand, rebuilds for sustainability

It has been two years since the massive earthquake that devastated and destroyed many parts of Christchurch, New Zealand. Our colleague, Joy Kingsbury-Aitken, Christchurch's Road Safety Coordinator for schools, recently sent us this inspiring update.

An example of the damage sustained - Christ Church Cathedral in Cathedral Square in the heart of the city (and still within the "red zone"  - a no go area for the general public)


Christchurch is well on its way to repairing and rebuilding the city, providing many unique opportunities for planning new ways to get around the city. The Central Business District (CBD) was almost all damaged and much will be taken down and replaced; the plans call for a more walk and bicycle friendly transportation system. As it will take many years and dollars to rebuild, many areas will be turned over to park systems and green spaces. In fact, the CBD will literally be located in a park!


Many of the suburban areas of the city on the eastern (seaward) side were very badly damaged, including some of the prime real estate along the banks of the Avon River where land remediation is proving to be extremely difficult and costly. Many of these former neighbourhoods will be reclaimed as parkland, and there is a plan to create a walking and cycling pathway along the banks of the river from the CBD all the way to the sea. Closures and mergers of schools that were once the heart of many of these neighbourhoods are in the works. These changes will impact on how children travel to their schools, with some interesting opportunities as schools are encouraged to work together to create clusters of schools with the possibility of area wide travel plans being created. 


Walking to school
Children from Waimairi School (the first school in Christchurch to develop a School Travel Plan - in 2005) model 'high viz wear', which is now so typical in Christchurch.

In 2011 high school students attending the most damaged schools were bussed across the city, with their teachers, to other less damaged high schools. Lessons were split across the day with some students starting much earlier and others staying later. State examinations showed that these teens performed well academically despite the stress they were under, so the New Zealand government is looking for ways for more cooperative learning opportunities. With this change comes new opportunities for assessing school travel modes and routes as well as changing attitudes towards a more sustainable future.


Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Road Safety Coordinator (Schools)

Business Support Unit, City Environment Group

City of Christchurch, New Zealand




Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - Winter Walk Day!

Winter Walk Day started off a chilly -6o and some areas of the province had snow but the sun shone brightly for most of the day. Read about some of the inspiring events here


For this year's event we noted that student participation was around 75% at many schools, 44% of schools surveyed were participating for the first time and 67% of participating schools hold regular walking events. Congratulations to all for your commitment to physical activity. 


  • MPP Margarett Best enjoying a brisk walk to school with Military Trail P.S. students from the Mournelle Court Safe Walk program



         MPP Best walking to school


  • Ottawa's Woodroffe Avenue P.S. recorded a 300% increase in walking - from 12 to 39% - one group of students and their families walked almost 3K to school on WWD!
  • Students from St. Anthony's Catholic School in Ottawa enjoy trying out snowshoes during their Winter Walk Day festival! 
Challenge your students to Spring into Spring by walking (jogging, skipping or biking) to school as often as possible between Earth Week (April 22-26) and Clear Air Day (June 5).




Students who participate in Spring into Spring benefit from: 

* Daily physical activity;
* A healthier environment
* Safer streets; Making friends and having fun!  


ICANwalk banner


Schools, you can still register for iCANwalk to school...can you? and track your kilometres travelled actively during Spring into Spring to be eligible for great prizes.


In addition to donated prizes from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, we have 5 classroom sets of pedometers from StepsCount.  Did you know that the recommended target for children is 15,000 steps a day? Help them reach this target and register today for iCANwalk to school...can you?


The Ontario government recently announced their recommendations from the Healthy Kids Panel

The panel was created by the province as part of their Action Plan for Health Care to find ways to reduce childhood obesity. A submission to the Healthy Kids Panel in support of provincial leadership on active school travel was forwarded to the panel last year from a wide range of collaborators under the leadership of Metrolinx and Green Communities. We are encouraged to see that recognition of active transportation and walking and biking to school are strongly cited in the third prong of the recommended provincial strategy: "Create Healthy Communities". We will continue to work with our partners to push for provincial action on active school travel for the benefit of all our children and their future health.





Local Air Quality and Children's Mobility

St. Lawrence Catholic School in Hamilton, Ontario is hosting a unique air quality monitoring project, as part of their ongoing efforts to create a healthier school environment for their students. The project, a joint effort of Green Venture, Rotek Environmental, Clean Air Hamilton and Green Communities Canada, with support from Environment Canada's Air Quality Health Index, has involved elementary students in the collection and analysis of air quality data around the school and in action planning. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment's air quality monitoring mobile truck was on site in 5 locations around the school for one week. Rotek Environmental, a local Hamilton air quality company, and Green Venture presented basic facts of air quality to two classes and they visited the truck to see how the data was collected. Using a

smaller mobile air quality monitoring device sponsored by Levitt Safety, the students collected more data from various locations in the schoolyard. Under the guidance of teachers Grant Ranalli and Miranda Fidanza, the students worked with Green Venture and Rotek to analyze all the data collected, to prepare graphs, reports and brainstorm actionable activities. The school held an anti-idling campaign for one week to target vehicles that stop around the school. All the information collected will be shared with the community at meetings later in March and a video is being produced about the project.


St. Lawrence has been an active participant in the Stepping It Up (School Travel Planning) project with Metrolinx as well as Share the Road and Green Communities' Wheeling to School pilot. Our thanks to St. Lawrence and in particular Grant and Miranda and their amazing students!

Check out our recently updated Idling Free Zone page. View the page in french here


School Travel Planning in Action in Ontario: 
Successes and Lessons in Active and Sustainable School Transportation, prepared by Metrolinx and Green Communities Canada. This report showcases 10 Ontario communities who have implemented School Travel Planning initiatives. 


Congratulations to the Greater Essex County School Board who recently supported the development of an Active Transportation Policy! 



Walk Friendly ON  


Kingston Princess St. Promenade.


Coming soon is the first intake of applications for communities looking to earn a WALK Friendly Ontario designation.  If your community is considering submitting an application, please drop us a line


Fort Erie Friendship Trail
To help you decide if your community is ready to apply for WALK Friendly Ontario designation, you will find all you need to know here.

Our WALK Friendly Ontario pilot communities are doing great things!



WALK Friendly Ontario is presenting at the following conferences:


The USA Walk Friendly Communities National Recognition Program releases "Giving Cities Legs: Ideas and Inspirations from Walk Friendly Communities, a MUST read for Ontario communities interested in earning a designation:


Canada Walks can help you meet your walkability goals!

We offer a full range of workshops and consulting services to help you:

























You can find out more information about our services here or contact us for details.



Talking Walking           



Visit them on Facebook




Headed up by creative walking genius Andrew Stuck, who conceived Talking Walking while completing a Walking and Art Residency at the Banff Centre of Arts, Talking Walking celebrates five years since the first episode (with Simon Pope). Check out the most recent interview with Belgian walking artist Reg Carremans and listen to Jacky Kennedy's interview while you're there. 



Andrew is also the director and founder of Rethinking Cities Ltd. based in the UK. Visit Rethinking Cities on Facebook 





Adapting School Travel Planning for High Schools

Between 2010 and 2012 the School Travel Planning model was adapted for high schools and the model was piloted at 7 Ottawa area schools. The model focuses specifically on youth engagement and the development of leadership skills amongst participants. This case study provides the background for the project as well as lessons learned.


The March 6 webinar The Reality of Working with High Schools was archived and is available through our website for those who missed it.



Ride and Drive with Care program helps young drivers and cyclists learn to interact with one another on the road. High schools interested in delivering the Ride and Drive with Care Program should contact Share the Road. To set a good example, sign the pledge 

To get involved in Ontario's first Youth Bike Summit to take pace this fall, visit sharetheroad.ca.



Active Travel Charter for Canadian Children and Youth  

Sign the Active Travel Charter for Canadian Children and Youth and show your support for independent mobility for children. As the number of children being driven for short trips grows, community streets and spaces where children gather bear greater congestion and traffic safety issues; air quality where children play suffers; and many children are denied the opportunity for exercise, fresh air and independence. Sign the Charter here



City of Vancouver's 2040 Transportation Plan supports active school travel

Congratulations to the City of Vancouver who this past October officially adopted their 2040 Transportation Plan. Vancouver's innovative vision continues to break the North American mold, not with futurists flying cars or teleportation but simply through basic transportation priorities.  Vancouver's "hierarchy of modes" for moving people is voiced loud and clear throughout this 2040 vision; walking and cycling comes first, the private automobile, last.  Great news for our BC partner HASTe BC is that for the first time this transportation plan also prioritizes the need for Safe Routes to School and youth cycling education. HASTe BC is already piloting School Travel Planning in 5 elementary Schools and 1 High School in Vancouver this year. 


See specific references to active school travel:


Action Item E.1.1.2:Continue a "safe routes to school" program that connects schools to their surrounding neighbourhood with high quality walking and cycling routes for at least one block, complemented by promotional strategies that encourage students to use active travel modes.


Action Item E.2.2.2:Advocate for making cycling skills training a core part of the school curriculum or widely available to youth through other means.


Vancouver's Brent Toderian gave a terrific keynote address recently, about "Density Done Well."  Watch the 18 minute keynote 



Upcoming Events


Active School Travel Webinar Series

For all those working in the field of active school travel you are invited to participate in any of the following free webinars, hosted by Green Communities Canada. All times are Eastern Standard Time:


Progress in Local Communities: Wednesday, April 3, 12 noon - 1:30 pm

Presentations from Vernon, BC; Edmonton, AB; rural Yukon Territory communities; Bridgewater, NS; and highlights from 10 Ontario School Travel Planning case studies.


Technology Developments in Active School Travel: Tuesday, April 30, 12 noon to 1:30 pm

Green Action Centre, Manitoba will present their Bike, Walk, Roll project mapping app and HASTe BC will showcase iSchoolTravel, an active travel and emissions calculator.


Local Air Quality and Children's Mobility:  Wednesday, June 19, 12 noon to 1:30 pm

Results and highlights from the Hamilton, Ontario air quality monitoring project at St. Lawrence Catholic School.



For these webinars please register with Sandra Jones 




Other noteworthy upcoming events and opportunities:








Walk21 - Munich 2013 conference: September 11-13, Munich, Germany




bike summit logo  









Complete Streets Forum / Ontario Bike Summit: May 27 - 29, Hyatt Regency, Toronto. This year the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation's 6th annual Complete Street Forum is partnering with Share the Road Cycling Organization's annual Ontario Bike Summit for what promises to be a great three days of knowledge exchange and advocacy for active travel in Ontario. Visit sharetheroad.ca  and tcat.ca  for registration and program details. Note that a discounted registration is offered to participants who attend both events.


We learned about One Planet Living from Dr. Catherine O'Brien. Read her blog: www.sustainablehappiness.ca.




 Interesting Tidbits ...

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! 






Donate Now Canada Walks Walkolution News profiles actions across Canada undertaken by Green Communities Canada and our many local partners to help create communities where walking is safe, easy, enjoyable, and inviting. By making a donation to the Green Communities Foundation you can provide vital support for this work.  Just click on the Donate Now button and indicate in the comments section that you'd like your gift to go to the work of Canada Walks. 



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