How would you encourage Calgary’s children (and their parents) to choose active modes of transportation for travel to and from school?
I would heartily agree that as parents, we should do all we can to encourage our children to be active and healthy. I have a background as a physical education teacher and realize that one of the most important factors is a parent that motivates their child to walk, run, or bike rather than look for a car ride.
How would you work with parents and the City to provide safe routes to walk and bike to Calgary’s schools, including traffic safety measures in the vicinity of the schools themselves?
The answer to safe routes to school is one that would be a joint undertaking between many stake holders. Certainly, schools play a role to educate children in regards to what is a safe and what is not a safe route, stranger danger, visible and secure bicycle racks at school, etc. Combined with this is proactive policing. We are most blessed in Calgary to have a Chief of Police, Rick Hanson, who is very supportive of community policing. We have SRO’s(School Resource Officers) in our schools who work closely with schools to support initiatives such as that which you describe. And lastly, parents have a huge role to play. Parents are still the primary educators of our young.
Lastly, I feel it is important that city planners need to take bicycle/walking routes into consideration when designing new communities. We can see that cycling to work for many adults is now their preferred method of commuting AND getting their daily exercise. What great role models for our young! Building safe and effective walking/biking routes for children and adults should be a city planning priority. I think the city’s “Plan-It” document addresses some of this.