NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association raise this issue to the Province of Alberta, specifically the Minister of Education, in collaboration with local authorities, to request leadership in developing policy direction with respect to safe transportation initiatives including but not limited to the walking school bus that can:
• enhance student safety,
• resolve congestion concerns,
• support environmental initiatives, and
• reduce the need for larger school sites to accommodate parking.
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT in the absence of policy direction, the province look at appropriate school site planning that considers catchment areas, the need for increased parking and drop off areas that increase safety and decrease congestion.
WHEREAS studies show that more children are being driven to school and have less options for walking and biking;
WHEREAS the planning of school sites must take into consideration the transportation requirements and needs of the families that will be attending the school;
WHEREAS school site planning should not have to make a choice between playgrounds and parking lots to ensure safe transportation and address congestion;
WHEREAS changing behaviors of children and parents require creative solutions that are safe and fun;
WHEREAS a walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults and can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers;
WHEREAS parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school and providing adult supervision may help reduce those worries for families who live within walking or bicycling distance to school;
WHEREAS a goal of The City of Red Deer’s Environmental Master Plan (2011) in the area of Transportation is to partner with school boards to implement a walking school bus to encourage children to walk, recognizing the health and environmental benefits; and
WHEREAS vehicular congestion at school sites continues to be identified as a significant health, safety and environmental concern.