You may have started to hear about new efforts and initiatives by the Norseman Traffic Committee, whose goal is to create a safe environment for our kids to travel to and from school. We also want to highlight active travel, such as walking or biking and the positive impacts that this has on the mental and physical health of our kids.
We know that there is a need to drive sometimes, so we will also be introducing a few traffic and parking calming strategies. The following outlines some activities we will be initiating to encourage safer travel:
SAFE TRAVEL WEEK
With the help of many parent volunteers, will employ traffic and parking calming initiatives to reduce congestion on Chartwell Road for Norseman students during pick up and drop off times. To ensure everyone's safety, this will include a reminder of no-parking areas on Chartwell Road and having the Toronto Police present to monitor and direct traffic/parking.
This initiative will support the TDSB initiative Bike to School program, which encourages students to use active travel.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS
- Keep speed low in school zones.
- Do not perform three-point turns or u-turns where kids are walking (as they are learning road safety and their movements are unpredictable).
- Be mindful of traffic signs and park at least a block away from the school to alleviate congestion.
- Consider school neighbours when parking - do not block driveways, double park blocking roadway or park in front of fire hydrants.
- Pay close attention when crossing the road, and of course, always look both ways, and over your shoulder to check behind you.
- Be aware of your surroundings when walking and biking to school.
- If you’re getting dropped off by car, exit the car on the side where there is a side walk, not the side onto the roadway.
- Don’t rush when getting to school and remember your safety is always most important.
- Watch out for your friends and help each other learn about road safety.
- Parents, please look out for students walking alone.
ACTIVE TRAVEL & INCENTIVES:
Active travel is biking, walking, scootering, or any way of traveling that involves being outside and enjoying the scenery. Traveling to and from school this way, has positive effects on mental health, reduces stress, boosts mood, provides physical activity, and alleviates traffic congestions and air pollution around the school.
To help provide some motivation, use the Carrot Rewards app to track steps and get rewards like Scene points, so you can treat the family to a free movie. It’s a free app that can be downloaded on your smartphone and even synced with your Fitbit (if you use one).
There may also be classroom rewards for active travel.
In addition to our own initiatives to promote safe travel, we are also working with the local city councillor, with the help and support of the Ward 3 school trustee and superintendent to change the existing parking by-laws around Norseman School. These efforts take a little longer, but we are pushing hard to make an improvement!
The Traffic Committee will continue to look for ways to address your traffic concerns, and we thank you in advance for working with us to make the streets around Norseman safe and inclusive for our community. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have children in kindergarten or at Castlebar, we would love your help with the traffic/parking issues in those locations as well at future dates!
Norseman's catchment area is one of the biggest in the school board. We have a large number of children who walk to school, and also a large number of children who are driven to school. When these two groups come together, it can make quite a mess at drop-off and pick-up times!
The parking lot does not have enough space in it even for staff, and with parents parking, or using it as a drive through drop off, it is jammed and can be dangerous. Neighbours are unhappy with the number of cars parked along their streets (and in their driveways!) at busy morning and afternoon times.
The traffic committee has worked with the city and the Principal to request traffic studies. As well as discuss what other options might work to mitigate the traffic issue.
Recently speed bumps were added to Chartwell Rd. which has slowed and likely lessened the traffic on that street. We have lobbied for years to have a crossing guard at the crosswalk on Norseman and finally as of January 2015, we now have a crossing guard in the morning, lunch and afternoon.
If you are the lobbying, letter-writing type, your skills would be well used in this committee.