Sunday, February 20, 2011

Car Free Schools – only in Canada, you say?

Milton school forces to students to walk (Spacing Toronto, Mar. 25, 2010)

Also discussed here: A One of a Kind Walking, Biking School Opens in Canada
(School Transportation News, Jan. 12, 2010)

Associated reference: Children & Cities: Planning to Grow Together (24 page pdf, Vanier Institute of the Family,  Oct. 2009)
Today’s article is not a  peer reviewed journal article about the health threat of vehicle emissions but is about a news story from Halton Region, west of Toronto. Milton is among a few communities to measure roadside emissions (using the same monitor as DEFRA in the UK  for its Local Air Quality Management, the Austrian manufactured AirPointer). It also has a school, P.L. Robertson elementary school, with a full out ban on parents driving their kids. The daily shuttle of cars to and from schools not only presented significant safety hazards but also unnecessary pollution which many children had to endure- as they do at most Canadian and American schools, even those where idling is banned.

Key Quotes:

The program comes on the heels of a pilot run last year at eight other schools to encourage more physical activity for the students and to alleviate hundreds of parents converging on schools in their personal vehicles.”

“Costing the board $125,000, the ban on driving is a one year pilot with hopes of expanding to other schools in the community in the coming years.”

“the school quickly reached a 100% compliance rate.. some students who qualify for buses have opted to walk instead, so as to join their friends”

“about 98 percent of the school's 700 students bike, walk, skateboard or ride scooters to and from school..even during the snowy or rainy winter, the program saw up to 90 percent of the students continue their pedestrian ways”

“are plans to expand it to 18 to 20 additional schools within the next year”
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