Safer Walk to School Pilot

“I used to walk to school every day through 3 feet of snow…uphill there, uphill back!”

You’ve heard that one before, right?

There are times when I really fear for the future of the walk to school. My office fields many concerns from residents that worry about keeping their children safe on community streets. These safety concerns can sometimes make driving children to their community school a preferred option.

I believe in the benefits of walking to school. Walking to school encourages an active lifestyle and it also helps familiarize young people with how to interact safely with residential roadways. I do not believe that it is to the benefit of our children to never have them cross a street or learn how to properly use a crosswalk. These are valuable learning experiences and can help make sure everyone gets to where they are going safely.

A typical pedestrian crossing in McKenzie Towne

Next year the new McKenzie Highlands middle school will open. The school is located in the south portion of McKenzie Towne and the walk zone extends all the way to the north end of the community. I have heard from a lot of parents that are concerned about their children potentially navigating the McKenzie Towne traffic circle twice a day during busy traffic.

The Ward 12 team on site with traff
The Ward 12 team at the McKenzie Towne traffic circle with traffic engineers

Earlier this year I sat down with the Road’s Director to discuss an idea for a pilot. I wanted to see us implement a way-finding program that could help children find a safer walk route to school. My hope is that we can work with the community to establish a safer walk route and create an opportunity for “walking school buses” to bring students to and from school.

Pavement stickers directing pedestrians to the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) on McKenzie Towne Blvd

My team has partnered with representatives from our Transportation Department and CBE Trustee Amber Stewart for this pilot. We have been out on site with traffic engineers to plot a proposed safer-walk route. The route will be marked by “Safe-Walk” pavement stickers at street crossings and make use of strategic crossing points that have appropriate pedestrian infrastructure. On November 19th we are going to be hosting a walk-through with members of the public who are interested in this pilot. We are planning on walking the route with parents, children and City administration. There will be opportunities to engage with your Councillor, with your Trustee, with Calgary Police and with the City Transportation folks.

The poster below has all of the details for our event:


I’m really excited about this, and I hope to see you there!