Many schools in Ottawa experience traffic flow problems and safety issues due to the number of families trying to park as close to the school as possible to drop off children. High traffic volumes in front of the school lead to school zone safety concerns, resulting in some families not feeling comfortable letting their children walk, scoot, bike, or take the bus to school. Fewer families using active and sustainable modes of transportation creates a cycle of increased safety concerns and more students driving to school.
A School Zone Safety Blitz is one way to address traffic flow issues and improve school zone safety. During a Safety Blitz, volunteers use signage to communicate with drivers to change unsafe driving behaviours and to park away from the school and walk a block. Signs are also used to encourage safe pedestrian behaviour. As drivers and pedestrians follow the messages displayed on Safety Blitz signs, it leads to increased safety for all road users, which can make families more confident using active and sustainable modes of transportation.
The goals of Safety Blitzes are to increase rates of active and sustainable transportation(walking, scooting, biking, and bussing), reduce vehicle traffic in front of the school, and make the school zone safer for everyone. Each school’s safety concerns differ, and a Safety Blitz is designed to address school-specific issues. The School Zone Safety Blitz Toolkit is a resource to guide a school through the process of planning and implementing its own Safety Blitz.
Below is a summary of the contents of the School Zone Safety Blitz Toolkit:
1. Overview of previous Safety Blitz events
2. Steps to take before a Safety Blitz
3. Guide for schools to coordinate a Safety Blitz
4. Stage 1 – Planning
5. Stage 2 – Education
6. Stage 3 – Enforcement
7. Stage 4 – Evaluation
8. Resources available for implementing a Safety Blitz