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Calgary developing sidewalk stickers to guide students to school

Pilot project in McKenzie Towne is one small step towards a walkable city

Sidewalk markers developed by the city’s roads department will help guide kids along walkable routes to McKenzie Highlands Middle School when it opens in January. The pilot project is just one way the city hopes to encourage kids to walk, and discourage parents from dropping kids off.

Brodie Thomas / Metro

Sidewalk markers developed by the city’s roads department will help guide kids along walkable routes to McKenzie Highlands Middle School when it opens in January. The pilot project is just one way the city hopes to encourage kids to walk, and discourage parents from dropping kids off.

The days of walking uphill in a blinding snowstorm to get to school really are a thing of the past, but snowstorms aside, the city is hoping to point the way to more kids walking to school

Coun. Shane Keating, along with the CBE and the city’s Roads Department, are preparing a pilot project in southeast Calgary that aims to get kids on foot safely to the new McKenzie Highlands Middle School, which is set to open this January.

The project involves sidewalk markers and signs along some of the safer routes that will lead kids to school, as well as remind them to look both ways at busy crossings.

“They’ll have yellow footprints on the sidewalk, and then signs to give you directions to the next turn along the safest route,” said Keating.

He hopes neighbours will get their kids walking together in larger groups, so older kids can look out for younger, and so the group will be more visible to vehicles.

“Kids can walk a fair distance and it’s better for everyone,” he said.

McKenzie Highlands Middle School will have kids coming from as far away as Prestwick, and some will have to navigate a complicated traffic circle to get to their school.

The blue pin shows where the new school will be, while the traffic circle is in the top right.

Google Maps

The blue pin shows where the new school will be, while the traffic circle is in the top right.

Amber Stewart, CBE trustee for Wards 12 and 14, said that traffic circle in particular is notorious at morning rush hour, so the marked routes should help give kids and parents some peace of mind.

“What we want here are communities that are walkable – where parents feel their children are safe,” said Stewart

Data over a 10-year period from 2001 to 2011 shows the number of Calgary children getting driven to school by their parents jumped from 36 per cent to 47 per cent, while those who walked or cycled dropped from 35 to 21 per cent.

According to a report to the city’s Transportation and Transit Committee, that’s causing problems at schools that were built to accept students arriving on foot or by bus.

Keating, said so many of the complaints to his office are about traffic safety around schools, as well as the traffic congestion that comes with parents stopping to drop their kids off.

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