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London elementary school encouraging active transportation

Students at Sir Arthur Currie Public School were encouraged to walk to school Friday morning. Andrew Graham/980 CFPL

Students at Sir Arthur Currie Public School had a different commute to class Friday morning.

The school, in partnership with Active and Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) and the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee (LMRSC), encouraged students and staff to walk to class from a nearby drop-off point.

Buroak Drive was closed between 8:40 a.m. to 9:05 a.m. Friday.

Nearby Foxfield Park was recently named the school’s new designated driver drop-off location, known as the “Coyote Drop Zone.”

Tara MacDaniel, the co-chair of the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee and a Public Health Nurse at the Middlesex-London Health Unit says the drop zone promotes physical activity before the school day starts and helps make the area around the school safer by minimizing the number of cars entering the school area.

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“We know that when a child is more physically active in the morning, their brains are better prepared to learn. Building safe active transportation into a child’s daily routine is not only great for their health, it also increases their readiness for school.”

The school’s principal says traffic in and around the school is probably the most common complaint she receives from parents.

“We’ve heard that from day one, the fact that Buroak Road isn’t completed, there’s just a spot at the end to turn around, it does make parking and traffic a significant concern for parents,” said Bruyns.

“It’s only a five minute walk, but it’s five minutes of fresh air, it gets them ready to roll so their more prepared for learning, compared to when they were just dropped off out front of the school.”

The school had roughly 300 students when it opened in 2017, now there’s just over 700. As the number of students continues to grow, Bruyns says they needed to look at other ways to get students to class.

“With that increase in population, comes that increase in traffic, and we really want to put student safety first. We’re hoping that families see Foxfield Park as a quick and efficient way to drop their children off.”

Colby Wasson normally walks to school, and says he’d much prefer that over taking the bus.

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“This way your walking in the fresh air and it’s more fun, on the bus it’s always too loud for me,” said Wasson, who adds that he also takes his bike or scooter to school.

Friday morning, he decided to go with roller blades.

“It’s fun because you’re not walking, you’re on wheels.”

Bruyns says if the drop zone turns out to be as popular as she things it will, the city says it will provide winter maintenance to keep it operational year round.

 

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