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  • Newmarket launches an Active School Travel Program to increase safety for children walking to school

    Created: Wednesday, September 08, 2021

    The Town of Newmarket is proud to partner with York Region, Smart Commute Central York, the York Region District School Board and the York Region Catholic School Board to introduce an Active School Travel Program (AST) just in time for back-to-school. This pilot program includes visible infrastructure components that will be installed to help increase the safety of pedestrians in school areas. At this time, the Town will be painting curbs in and around six select school zones red and installing signage to catch the attention of drivers and to enhance the safety of children walking to school. The majority of the work will be completed by the end of this week (weather dependent). 
     
    “We are very happy to be working with York Region, Smart Commute Centre York and York Region School Boards to make our streets even safer for children walking to school,” says Mayor John Taylor. “As part of Council’s priorities, our goal is to continue to collaborate with our community partners and subject matter experts in order to make improvements and promote active transportation to school sites to improve accessibility, safety and efficiency.” 
     
    Red curb line paintings and signage will be installed at the following school areas as chosen by York Region and the York Region District/Catholic School Board:

    1. Stonehaven Elementary School (875 Stonehaven Avenue)

    2. Notre Dame Catholic Elementary School (715 Kingsmere Avenue)

    3. St. Elizabeth Seaton Catholic Elementary School (960 Leslie Valley Drive)

    4. Alexander Muir Public School (75 Ford Wilson Boulevard)

    5. Prince Charles Public School (684 Srigley Street)

    6. Maple Leaf Public School (155 Longford Drive)

    The Town will continue to monitor the results of this initiative to expand this program to other school zones in the future.
     
    Other components of the AST program include, but are not limited to, marker signs at 5-, 10- and 15-minute walking distances to schools, school zone pavement markings and stylized stencils on sidewalks. These other components are expected to be installed over the next three months and will be funded entirely by York Region. For more information, please view the information report.
     
    With more children heading back to school, drivers and pedestrians are reminded to keep these tips in mind to always be safety driven:
     
    Pedestrians: 

    • Always cross the street at school crossing guard locations or at intersections. Pay extra attention and look for the crossing guard’s stop sign and signals before proceeding through a school zone.
    • Be patient and take your direction to walk from the pedestrian signals, not the traffic lights.
    • Be alert, pay attention to your surroundings and avoid using any mobile device or wearing headphones that will distract you while crossing the street.
    • If you aren't sure you have enough time to cross, don't take the chance – wait for the next signal

    Drivers:

    • Remember to stay alert, pay attention to the speed limit and slow down when children are near the road or when you are driving through residential or school areas. Watch for other children and pedestrians. 

    • Be cautious when turning into any intersection and slow down on residential streets and school zones where children might be walking or playing.
    • Be alert and use caution when approaching intersections, crosswalks and stopped transit buses.
    • Pay attention and don't drive distracted. Some pedestrians may be walking against their signal and not paying attention. 
    • Use drop-off and pick-up zones on designated school property – these are separate from school bus loading and unloading areas. Not all school sites are designed with a drop-off and pick-up zone. Please check with your child's school for more information. 

    Report aggressive driving behaviour (speeding, disobeying traffic lights and stop signs etc.) to York Regional Police's Road Watch Program at yrp.ca/roadwatch
     
    For more information on the Town’s traffic safety management program, visit newmarket.ca/safetydriven