Sunday, May 04, 2008

governor's walk-about

Three school stretch reviewed for Safe Kids Week

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News, Published on May 02, 2008

A community safety walk of Governor's Road will mark Canada's Safe Kids Week.

The walkabout to assess pedestrian and cyclist safety on the stretch of Governor's Road near two elementary schools and one high school will be hosted by Transportation for Livable Communities. It's one of about 1,000 community projects being held in the last week of May in a program organized by Safe Kids Canada.

Anyone interested in participating is welcome to meet in front of St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 29.

Safe Kids Week project leader Denyse Boxell said participants hosting their own event are encouraged to download the Safe Kids Canada pedestrian safety guide and use it to assist in their own assessment.

The Safe Kids Canada Web site also offers a four-page community walkabout scoresheet for community groups to use during their assessments.

The scoresheet includes 16 different questions; each is allocated one point for a 'no' answer, two points for 'sometimes', three for 'yes' and zero points for 'don't know'.

Questions include: Can streets be easily, safely and conveniently crossed? Do drivers drive the speed limit? Do sidewalks exist? Are sidewalks well maintained? Are there traffic calming measures?

Each question includes teaching or discussion points to help assess that particular question, or safety indicator.

A total score for the walkabout below 17 points is assessed with the statement "Community needs to make considerable effort to create pedestrian friendly environment."

A score in the range of 17 to 32 points is defined as pedestrian friendly in some areas, but needing more work in others. And a score of 33 or more points is considered "very pedestrian friendly."

Ms. Boxell said Safe Kids Canada will provide further support and education to any community group that requests it.

"We lobby local and provincial governments to make pedestrian safety better," she said.

But local groups must take the lead role in their own community, and reach out to Safe Kids Canada to receive resources or other forms of support.

Ms. Boxell said a group can contact the national organization with information on a particular pedestrian concern, their findings and their efforts, and Safe Kids Canada can provide a letter supporting the group's effort, or training, information and documents to help improve pedestrian safety.

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