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Walking to school in New Westminster? Plan a safe route

Walking or cycling can give kids a big boost to start the school day.
Student with backpack
If your child is setting out for school on foot on Tuesday, the New Westminster school district and the city want to help them do it safely.

If your child is walking to school in New Westminster, the school district and the city wants to help them do it safely.

School District 40 is issuing a reminder to drivers that school zones will once again be in effect starting Tuesday, Sept. 6.

“Please drive with care as crosswalks and drop-off zones will be busy while we all get back into our school routines,” said a letter to families from the school district.

For those travelling to school on foot, the City of New Westminster has drawn up travel plans for each of the district’s schools, and SD40 is reminding local families to check those out.

The plans show suggested walking routes, meeting places, and areas for safe “park and walk” drop-off, as well as other safety factors such as crossing guards, traffic lights, pedestrian signals and marked crosswalks.

There’s a plan for every elementary and middle school in the district linked on the city’s website (note that Skwo:wech is still listed as Richard McBride, since the plans were drawn up in 2018).

The city also offers up safety tips for both walkers and drivers.

Safety tips for pedestrians and drivers around New Westminster schools

  • Be alert. If you are a driver, expect school zones to be busy and allow more time to travel through them. Watch for less safety-conscious drivers around schools.
  • Parents, consider alternatives to driving your kids to school
    • Walk or bike: Studies show that walking and biking to school give kids a big boost in alertness and readiness to learn once they are in class. They learn to be more street-wise, and walking and biking are fun, especially with friends.
    • Carpool or walkpool with friends or neighbours: Share the responsibility of driving or walking all week by teaming up with friends or neighbours. It’s a great way to start the day and reduces congestion on the roads.
    • Drop-off several blocks from school: Your kids will get a bit of valuable exercise, and you're helping ease traffic congestion near the school.
    • Have your older kids use transit: They will learn skills in time management and navigation and get a big confidence boost from their new-found independence.
    • Get involved. Consider joining other parents on the PAC at your child’s school to help promote school zone safety, walking and road sense in your school community.
  • General driving tips
    • Don’t turn around in a driveway (or back onto a roadway for any reason!) – it’s dangerous for pedestrians and other vehicles.
    • Don’t park or stop in disabled parking spaces.
    • Obey posted speed limits (school zone speed limit is 30km/hr).
    • Park thoughtfully, in legal designated spots and fully pulled up to the curb.
    • Make even one less car trip to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 — source: City of New Westminster

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