Active and Safe Routes to School
The Upper Grand District School Board is a partner in the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) Committee. The vision of the Committee is that walking, cycling and other active modes will be attractive, realistic and safe modes of transportation for school students in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph.
Schools can encourage active travel to school year-round by organizing regular walking events and activities. Annual events include Walk to School Month (October) and Winter Walk Day (February), Spring into Spring (April and June) and Bike to School Week (May or June). Schools can receive a Certificate of Participation when they register their Walk to School Month or Winter Walk Day events through the Active and Safe Routes to School website.
The benefits of walking to school include:
- Increased physical activity
- Reduced traffic congestion
- Improved air quality
- Enhanced neighbourhood safety
- A greater sense of community
When we walk to school, even if it’s just for the last few blocks, we contribute to a happier, healthier, cleaner, and safer school neighbourhood.
Tips for Safely Walking and Riding to School
Parents/guardians can help children learn about walking or riding to school safely by:
- Being a good role model. Demonstrate road safety rules with your child (e.g. looking both ways when crossing the street).
- Planning a walking or riding route. Assess potential hazards with your child. Encourage your child to stick to the route.
- Reminding your child about personal safety. Point out the houses of people you know where they can go for help if needed.
- Adopting a buddy system. Walk with a “walking buddy” – a sibling or a friend.
- Asking that electronics like iPods and cellphones be put in their bag while walking to school. Pedestrian safety is compromised by texting, earphones and cellphone conversation.
- Talking about the rules of the road and pedestrian safety.
Walk to (and at) School Day
Walk to School Day is an international event that encourages students to be active on their journey between home and school. On special days throughout the school year, ASRTS encourages parents and guardians to walk, bike or wheel to school with us. The ASRTS committee is encouraging schools with bused students to also participate by organizing a walk around the school yard at lunch or before bell time.
Walking and riding to school are great ways to include physical activity into the day, and it is well known that students who use active travel to get to school arrive alert and ready to learn.
School Travel Planning
School Travel Planning (STP) is a comprehensive process that is undertaken to assess the barriers to active school transportation in order to develop and implement action plans. See the ASRTS STP web page for further information.
In recent years, the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph ASRTS Committee has completed school travel plans for eight (8) of the Upper Grand District School Board’s schools:
- Hyland Heights ES (Shelburne)
- Jean Little PS (Guelph)
- Ken Danby PS (Guelph)
- École King George PS (Guelph)
- Mitchell Woods PS (Guelph)
- Princess Margaret PS (Orangeville)
- Rockwood Centennial PS (Rockwood)
- Victoria Cross PS (Mount Forest)
School Travel Planning: Feasibility Study for Ontario Ministry of Education
The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Region, together with the City of Toronto participated in a School Travel Planning feasibility study, led by Green Communities Canada on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Education. The study examined the differences in delivering School Travel Planning in urban, suburban and rural communities. The study began in April 2014 and the final report was completed in February 2016. Partners for the project included:
- Green Communities Canada
- City of Toronto
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
- Share the Road Cycling Coalition
- Ontario Ministry of Education
- City of Guelph
- Toronto District School Board
- Toronto Catholic District School Board
- Toronto Student Transportation Group
- University of Toronto
- Upper Grand District School Board
- Participating communities
The feasibility study included School Travel Planning for the following five (5) schools in the Upper Grand DSB:
- Glenbrook PS (Shelburne)
- J.D. Hogarth PS (Fergus)
- Minto-Clifford PS (Harriston)
- Montgomery Village PS (Orangeville)
- Rickson Ridge PS (Guelph)