Both School District 46 and the City of Powell River are receiving funding from Vision Zero to improve road safety in their communities.
SD 46 received a $20,000 grant from the provincial initiative, while Powell River received $10,000. The funding will be used for active transportation mapping and pedestrian safety projects respectively in each community.
The $10,000 grant will be used to add a rapid flashing beacon at a crosswalk in Powell River. The city hopes the addition will increase pedestrian safety and encourage active transportation in the process.
Meanwhile, SD46 will work on planning an active transportation map system for students to use and get to school. The project will be an expansion of the Best Routes to School transportation map program that started with Gibsons Elementary School’s PAC.
Superintendent Kate Kerr adds it’s a project students would like to see finished. She said the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) data is a self-report for their students.
“With the MDI reports, only three to four per cent of our youth are actually biking to school, but 25 per cent say they would like to,” said Kerr. “So noticing that our students are seeing a gap, they’re wanting an opportunity to have active travel to school.”
The district is considering the different paths in a way to make them as direct as possible, but safe to encourage students to use the routes.
“We’re looking at roads that don’t have a lot of significant traffic on them,” she said. “We have some fantastic paths between some roads that are actively used and how do we bring awareness to that?”
“Because honestly, I think some people don’t even know that they exist so part of the mapping is part of that work.”
The plans are still in effect as the grants were just received and they will be running a few pilot programs.
Kerr adds planning will be a key part of ensuring safety for students getting to school.
“For us, it really does centre around planning safe systems and the collaboration and connection with the community as well as the education and awareness for our students and families,” said Kerr.
Kerr thanks Transportation Sunshine Coast and their learning communities who will be moving the project forward in the community.
She adds another goal of the project is to honour earth month and see the opportunity of active transportation for climate action.