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Hidden Valley School Traffic Safety Program

A successful year-long campaign to address traffic congestion in and around the school, as well as traffic safety education as a whole to the students, their families, staff members, and members of the Hidden Valley Community!

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In a perfect world, all parents would be able to walk their kids to school. However, most parents are juggling activities and in a hurry to face the dreaded challenge of dropping off and picking up their kids from school. Like many schools in Calgary, Hidden Valley School in the North West knew it was time to address traffic congestion in an around the school. A large number of the students within the school walk-zone are driven, which often causes unsafe traffic congestion in front of the school. So the School Council decided it was time to promote change.

Hidden Valley School was awarded an Alberta Traffic Safety Fund grant in December 2018. In January 2019, the School Council kicked off a year-long campaign from January through October 2019 to address not only traffic congestion in and around the school zone but to address traffic safety education as a whole to the students, their families, staff members, and members of the Hidden Valley Community.

The Campaign

The School Council purchased “Hug N’ Go” banner flags to hang during bell times. School staff and parent volunteers collaborated with Calgary Police Services (CPS) to host monthly traffic safety blitzes in order to address the traffic congestion during bell times. The School introduced the CPS S-4 in Schools program. This “Stay Smart Stay Safe” program brought the School’s CPS Liaison officer into the classrooms to work with teachers and their students to encourage students to use their strengths and to continue to develop their skills to keep themselves and their community safe.

Each student at the school received a pedestrian safety reflector to wear on their backpacks or jackets to increase their visibility while travelling throughout the community. Every month, the school council focused on a component of traffic safety. Over the course of the school year, students were sent home with Pedestrian Safety Facts postcards, Street Safe activity booklets, Bus Safety rules and Safe Cycling checklists. The School Council published traffic safety reminders, tips, and alternative forms of transportation through the schools monthly newsletter as well as in the monthly community newsletter and social media.

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Story Hidden Valley Safety Program Bicycle Winners

In May 2019, Hidden Valley School hosted a Walk/Bike Week Event to encourage students and their families to walk/bike to and from school and to implement the traffic safety education they received throughout the year in the evenings with their families. Students who participated were entered in a draw to win either a bicycle, scooter or helmet. CPS and a “Walking School Bus” mascot attended the school’s spring event to encourage students to promote community policing awareness and alternate forms of transportation. A Traffic Safety Assembly was held at the beginning of June. Students learned and practised the Point, Pause, Proceed method for using a crosswalk and the prizes from the Walk/Bike Week Event were awarded to students by CPS, Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek, and Alberta Transportation.

Evaluation & Impact

The School Council ended the year by asking parents to complete a traffic safety campaign survey to gauge how effective their campaign was. The survey results reinforced to the School Council that traffic safety, education and awareness was extremely important to parents and their families in and around the community; the educational/promotional materials (pedestrian reflectors, safe cycling checklists, street safe activity booklets) were discussed at home and found useful.

The biggest impact that the campaign had was through the schools Walk/Bike Week Event and traffic safety assembly which triggered students and their families to begin a more active route to school. Students were excited to practice their new safety skills and parents commented on the increase in their student’s confidence in street safety.

In collaboration with the CBE Traffic Safety Sub-Committee, Ward 3 Councillor’s Office and the Community Association, the School Council was able to flag specific problem areas pertaining to pedestrian safety within the school zone and successfully advocated for temporary curb extensions to be installed at a high risk crosswalk within the school’s walking zone. This is a great example of how a strong school council can make a difference for our students and our community as a whole.