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Strathcona Families Take on the City’s ‘School Streets’ Program

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Strathcona Families Take on the City’s ‘School Streets’ Program

An innovative new project at Strathcona Elementary School is helping keep families safer at
drop-Strathcona families participating in School Streets programoff – and is creating a safe place for students to walk, bike, scoot, and play.

The School Streets project, led by the City of Hamilton, creates a car-free zone in front of Strathcona on Lamoureaux Street between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. each morning. The initiative, which is running from April to June, encourages families to walk, bike, or wheel to school and enjoy the extra space to play and socialize.

The benefits of the School Streets program include increased safety, improved air quality outside the school, and the opportunity for students to be physically active before school to increase focus and wellbeing. Students use the extra space to ride on scooters, create chalk drawings, and connect with their friends before class.

Strathcona students drawing on sidewalk

“The big thing for many families is safety – having cars not be a concern for the students. They know that they can walk on the road on the sidewalk and not have to worry,” said Strathcona Principal Dale Hill. “The students also enjoy the space to run and play and get some energy out.”

“It’s been amazing to see how the kids have just reclaimed the street,” said Jenny Vengris, whose daughter Maisie is in Grade 3 at Strathcona. “At first, they seemed a little bit trepidatious, and now they’re fully embracing how they’ve got this whole area to play.”

An added benefit of the program has been the opportunity for community building – especially at Strathcona, where there isn’t a large area for parents to congregate on school grounds, said Principal Hill.

“I think it’s created a huge sense of community. The families have a change to gather in the morning, to greet each other, and to not feel like they’re sort of pushing past each other on the sidewalk,” he said. “I think some families have met people they may have never met, and because they’re not rushing. It’s certainly creating a bit of a culture of active travelling as well.”Strathona families participating in School Streets program

“We’ve been trying to bring a bubble maker and chalk for the kids to play,” said Patrick Byrne, a Strathcona parent who bikes his children to school. “I’m a big supporter. We should do it at pickup too. It’s fantastic.”

City officials say that there may be an opportunity for this program to extend to other schools in the future. “It would be amazing to expand,” Said Krystn Orr, Physical Activity Specialist in Public Health. “Based on what we find here, we’ll be coming up with a list of criteria and best practices for how to identify the location, and how to set it all up. Strathcona has been a great partner in all of this.”

Thank you, Strathcona families and staff, for your energy and participation in taking on this exciting initiative!

Updated on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
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