Markham school first to test car-free zone

If your kids walk or cycle to school, you know they’ve got to keep their eyes open for potential safety hazards. A new pilot project aims to reduce those hazards by creating car-free zones.

York Region will kick off its first School Street Test Program at John McCrae Public School on Fred McLaren Boulevard in Markham. Beginning May 4 from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m., Stricker Avenue will be closed with limited access during school drop-off and pick-up times. The program will run four consecutive Wednesdays.

The York Region District School Board (YRDSB), City of Markham and Region of York have teamed up to launch School Streets, which are temporary road closures of streets in front of schools during peak school drop-off and pick-up times. The pilot project promotes Active School Travel, a program that encourages active modes of transportation like walking, cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding when travelling to and from school.

Active School Travel improves physical and mental health and reduces traffic congestion and improves safety for everyone in school zones and around school communities, the YRDSB reports. In addition to improving air quality, it improves academic performance by making children more alert and better prepared to learn. It also encourages social interaction and improves social skills while promoting lifelong habits that foster independence and active lifestyles.

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