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City teams up with Vancouver School Board on School Streets

Partnering with the VSB on this pilot will allow kids to walk, bike, or roll safely as they arrive and leave school.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

April 12 2021 –

Starting today, in partnership with the Vancouver School Board (VSB), we're launching a four-week School Streets pilot at three elementary schools. A School Street is a car-free block beside a school open to walking, biking, and rolling during drop-off and pick-up. School volunteers will be leading the day-to-day implementation of the pilot program.

The goals of the pilot are to help improve safety, encourage active travel and reduce carbon pollution, which is part of the Climate Emergency Action Plan and Transportation 2040 Plan

Pilot schools

The School Streets pilot will be in place April 12 to May 7 at: 

  • Hastings Elementary 
  • Lord Roberts Elementary
  • Van Horne Elementary

See motor vehicle closure times and locations of pilot schools

Benefits of School Streets

School Streets have been implemented in many jurisdictions, particularly in the United Kingdom, and have been shown to successfully:

  • Create a safer environment for children
  • Improve air quality
  • Encourage active travel to school
  • Reduce congestion and vehicle volumes 
  • Support physical distancing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Stephen Leung, Principal, Van Horne Elementary, says more than 75% of parents at the school were keen to try the pilot. He hopes it will encourage active travel and reduce traffic volumes around the school during pick-up and drop-off times.

Staff will monitor the four-week School Streets pilot, collect feedback from the school community and residents and report back on findings. The pilot will provide information on whether establishing School Streets at other schools may be feasible.

Background

In November 2020, City Council approved the Climate Emergency Action Plan. This included direction to develop a Transportation Demand Management Action Plan that includes expanded School Active Travel Planning Program offerings. 

In October 2019, Council passed a motion on “Improving Transportation Safety Around Vancouver Schools”, which is a core objective of the School Active Travel Planning Program. Established in 2012, the School Active Travel Planning Program consults with school communities and other stakeholders to identify transportation-related challenges and opportunities, improve safety, and increase the number of children walking and cycling to school.

In 2018, the Vancouver School Board approved the District’s first ever Environmental Sustainability Plan . The goals outlined in the plan include to support active transportation choices for school communities, and to support low-carbon transportation.

Time of motor vehicle closures at School Streets pilot schools

Hastings Elementary: 

  • Street closure to motor vehicles: Franklin St between Penticton St and Slocan St
  • Time in effect: 8:40am to 9:10am and 2:40pm to 3:10pm. See map (PNG)

Lord Roberts Elementary:

  • Street closure to motor vehicles: Comox St between Bidwell St and Cardero St
  • Time in effect: 8:30am to 9:15am and 2:30pm to 3:15pm. See map (PNG)

Van Horne Elementary:

  • Street closure to motor vehicles: 43rd Ave between Manitoba St and Ontario St
  • Time in effect: 8:40am to 9:10am and 2:40pm to 3:10pm. See map (PNG)

Quotes

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

“Children are one of our most vulnerable road users and it’s crucial they have safe public spaces for physical activity - like the block outside their school,” says Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Partnering with the VSB on this pilot will allow kids to walk, bike, or roll safely as they arrive and leave school.”

Carmen Cho, Chair, Vancouver School Board

“The Vancouver School Board is dedicated to promoting active transportation, as outlined in the District’s Environmental Sustainability Plan ,” says Carmen Cho, Chair, Vancouver School Board. “We hope many students will take this opportunity to experience walking, cycling, or rolling to school.”