Local organizations initiate “school street” pilot project in Hull-Wright district
A section of Rue Bisson in front of Lac-des-Fées elementary was closed to traffic for two hours in the morning and afternoon on May 18 and 25 as part of a “school street” pilot project. School streets are temporary or permanent road closures which help ensure safety and promote active transportation to and from school. The Lac-des-Fées school street is the first project of its kind in Gatineau and the National Capital Region as a whole.
The pilot project is the result of collaboration between three local organizations: the Lac-des-Fées elementary traffic committee; Les Mères au front, a mothers’ organization that advocates for active transportation and action against climate change; and Mobi-O, a local NGO that collaborates with the Ville de Gatineau as well as other local organizations to develop sustainable transportation solutions. Ten volunteers from the community also assisted with the project during the opening day on May 18. “There was an impressive mobilization of parents from Lac-des-Fées elementary for this project. It’s really been an overall positive experience right from the start,” said Patrick Robert-Meunier, Mobi-O’s Director.
The project began following consultations between Les Mères au front and Mobi-O about how to increase safe and active transportation in school zones, “It didn’t make sense to me why there were so many cars in front of the school entrance, so I did some research to see what is happening elsewhere in the world,” said Amadine Caudron spokesperson for Les Mères au front and member of the Lac-des-Fées traffic committee. “Les Mères au front then met with Mobi-O and I brought up the idea of a school street. Mobi-O shared some examples of school streets in Montreal and we agreed to go ahead and try this out,” she continued. The idea was proposed to the city and it was decided that the project would first be piloted for a section of the street prior to establishing something permanent.
Municipal Councillor for the Hull-Wright district Steve Moran, who was present at the school street on May 18, noted the significance of the project for promoting public health and safety across the city, “School streets is an idea that is coming into its time. Not only are you creating a safer space, but you are also enticing people to use more healthy modes of transportation.… The more people who get interested in this, the more people feel safer in the streets – it’s a virtuous cycle.” “The people at this school really believe in safer streets and active transport. Even the residents who live on Rue Bisson and are the most inconvenienced by the project have been supportive and love the idea.”
The Lac-des-Fées school street will be in place once more on Thursday, June 1, from 7:45 am to 8:45 am and from 3:15 am to 4:15 pm.
Photo Caption: A pilot project in Hull may come to Aylmer and rest of Gatineau. Parents and children leaving Lac-des-Fées elementary. Hull-Wright Councillor Steve-Moran (left) speaking with a volunteer organizer. (GN)
Photo Credit: Greg Newing.