The ACT government has announced it will expand programs to encourage children to walk or ride to school.
Ahead of Walk Safely to School Day on Friday, the transport and municipal services minister Meegan Fitzharris said $2 million would be invested over four years to help get children moving and encourage more active travel within our suburbs.
The Active Streets for Schools program will be expanded over the next two years, and the Ride or Walk to School program continue to be rolled out.
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As part of the measures, a government transport coordinator will be appointed to liaise with schools on all transport matters, and the Active Travel Office resourced within the new Transport Canberra agency.
“We need to make riding and walking to school the norm in Canberra again,” Fitzharris said.
Easier and safer
“We will invest $1 million in the Active Streets for Schools program to make it easier and safer for children to ride or walk to school.
“Not only will this get kids active, but it will give parents peace of mind that the route to school is safe and easy to follow.
“It is also a fun way to get to and from school and helps alleviate some of the traffic congestion created by parents dropping kids off at the school gate.”
Fitzharris said the program was working well in Macquarie, Macgregor, Latham and Mount Rogers primary schools. The $1 million investment would be spent on making footpaths and bike paths safer and signage.
She said the schools transport coordinator would provide an efficient government point of contact for school principals, parents and local residents, and help to implement the Active Streets for Schools and the Ride and Walk to School programs, the latter under the Healthy Weight Initiative.
“This is a great program currently delivered by the Physical Activity Foundation. An investment of $125,000 will enable us to expand it to an additional 56 schools, bringing a total of 108 schools on board. The program makes bikes available to schools for students to use, offers basic bike maintenance lessons, and helps teach children some basic road rules and how to stay safe on the way to and from school.”
The Active Travel Office will be provided with a dedicated officer to sit within the new Transport Canberra agency to ensure active travel options are integrated with buses and light rail.
“We want to make Canberra Australia’s cycling capital and most walkable city,” Fitzharris said, adding the dedicated position within Transport Canberra was key to making this happen.
The schools that will be targeted for the Active Streets for Schools program include:
Ainslie School, Amaroo School and Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Aranda Primary School and St Vincent’s Primary School, Calwell Primary School, Caroline Chisholm Primary School, Chapman Primary School, Charnwood Dunlop School, Curtin Primary School and Holy Trinity Primary School, Evatt Primary School, Garran Primary School, Harrison School and Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School, Hughes Primary School, Lyneham Primary School and Brindabella Christian College Junior School, Maribyrnong Primary School, Melrose High School and Sacred Heart Primary School, Palmerston District Primary School, Richardson Primary School, Telopea Park School, and Wanniassa School.