Active transportation: Never heard of it ? You will - a Burlington school board has some ideas she wants to see become policy.

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

October 2, 2015


Have you heard the term “Active Transportation”? Be prepared to hear the phrase bandied about in the next few months.

Active transportation is defined as human powered transportation such as walking, cycling, wheeling and other methods using mobility devices. This would apply whether going to the store, to work or to school.

It is a buzz phrase at all levels of government. Now how we shop or get to work is for the time being, our decision. However, the Halton District School Board can definitely have some influence as to how children reach school.


During a ride the bike to school week students at Charles Beaudoin school liked the idea and 200 students stuck with their bikes after the event.

Over the last number of years, vehicular traffic around schools has increased tremendously. There was a time when most students walked to schools. That certainly is my memory. With changing times, many more students are reaching school either through busing or car transportation.

There are many reasons that contribute to increased vehicular traffic, (safety issues, French Immersion) there has been a fundamental change as to how students reach school. Approach any school close to the opening bell and you are in the middle of a traffic jam.

This has resulted in schools needing to use the available land for circular drop off points or expanded parking lots. The HDSB did in fact promote the use of Active Transportation back in September of 2014, to date, there has not been too much traction in this area.

Well, this is about to change.

Grebenc - expressive hands

Burlington school board trustee Andre Grebenc has brought forward a motion for an Active Transportation program

A motion presented by Trustee Andrea Grebenc (Burlington), who is also chair of the Transportation Committee, recommended that the board renew its commitment to Active and Sustainable Transportation and to explore, evaluate and participate in collaboration with other school boards, municipalities, the provincial Government and other potential stakeholders is presenting a workable solution.

So why this concern about active transportation?

Various studies point to the evidence that those students who use some sort of physical activity prior to the commencement of the school day tend to concentrate better and achieve higher results than those who do not get any physical activity prior to school.

Some of the ideas to achieve active transportation?

Walking school bus

Actively promoted – children will take to walking to school on a regular basis.

• Walking Wednesdays
• Walk a Block (A drop off zone at least a block from the school)
• Bike Trains (Group of bikers along a pre-designated route)
• Walking School Bus (Parent volunteers walking a route and picking up students)

Implementation of some of these ideas would not only create a level of physical activity for students, but could also improve the air quality near the schools.

With an interim plan due in December of this year, this initiative is going to get a lot of discussion – the board is expected to initiative some public consultation prior to that date.

Background links:

City is pushing more walking and cycling as part of its draft Master Transportation Plan

If you give students a chance to make more use of their bikes – they will


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