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Safe Routes to School

schoolkids

This Safe Routes to School project has been undertaken to promote active transportation and use of transit among students attending Ecole Glenmore Elementary School in Kelowna, BC.

The area for this project is generally defined by Glenmore Drive on the east, Kelview and Cerise Drive on the west, High Road on the north and Clement Avenue on the south.

History

The neighbourhood around Ecole Glenmore Elementary is surrounded by major roads which serve as physical and psychological barriers, impeding the movement of pedestrians and cyclists in and out of the area. As traffic has increased in the area, parents have become increasingly concerned about the safety of their young children walking to and from school and have become more inclined to drive their kids to school. It is easy to see how the situation perpetuates itself: more traffic leads to more parents driving their kids to school which leads to more traffic (and the cycle continues).

 

In 2007, Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd spoke at the Cities Fit for Children Provincial Summit workshop on “Livable Cities for Children.” The Mayor suggested a school be the focus of a pilot project to transform the built and social environment to enable children to get to school safely under their own power. A group of Ecole Glenmore Elementary parents, known as the “Cool Ways to School Committee,” took up the challenge, collaborating with eight nursing students from the Health Promotion and Community Development practice course (Nursing 324) at UBCO. These groups organized and participated in a number of community events over 2008 and 2009 to engage other parents, students, neighbourhood residents, and the City of Kelowna in efforts to make “active transport” the mode of choice for children getting to and from school. The Cool Ways to School Committee mapped the neighbourhood surrounding the school and applied their local knowledge, common sense, and parenting experience to identify problem areas and potential improvements such as traffic calming techniques, street crossing enhancements, intersection and pathway improvements, and other upgrades.

The Plan

An overall plan and several details of improvements to particular problem areas were drafted and reviewed with City of Kelowna Infrastructure Planning staff.

 

The merit of the Committee’s work was apparent and the City of Kelowna committed to advance the concept further. In April 2010, Stantec Consulting Ltd. was engaged to explore the issues and opportunities associated with active transportation in this south Glenmore neighbourhood and to provide high level cost estimates for various improvement options.

 

As part of this process, two interactive events were held to provide input to the consultant team including:

  • Key Stakeholders Neighbourhood cycle & walking tours (May 4, 2010)
  • Participation at Ecole Glenmore Elementary Family Fun Night (May 28, 2010)

These interactive events & further consultations with parents, students, school representatives, City staff and other stakeholders identified safety concerns and other factors that inhibit children from walking, riding their bike or using other modes of active transportation to get to school. The 2010 Concept Plan, which has evolved from this process, includes recommendations to improve active transportation opportunities within the plan area in conjunction with a proposed phasing plan and associated cost estimate for key projects.

 

A number of key projects were prioritized and constructed in 2012. Please refer to the projects list below.  The Detail Design has been completed for the remaining portion of this project, which forms the final piece of this assignment.  A raised crosswalk at Mountain Avenue and Corner Road will include large 2.5m asphalt sidewalks creating a better, safer connectivity to the school.

Safe Routes Projects

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Design & Construction
250 469-8559

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