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November 19, 2013
Toronto summit on student transportation tomorrow
  
The City of Toronto in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto Public Health and Metrolinx is hosting a summit this week encouraging students and families to get active during their commute to school.

The Toronto Student Active Transportation Summit is an opportunity for school boards, community members and government agencies to share best practices and research, discuss needed actions and confirm their commitment to active forms of student transportation.

The summit will take place Wednesday, November 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Great Hall at St. Lawrence Hall, 157 King St. E.

"Active transportation is something we need to encourage among our students and families as Toronto continues to grow," said Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. "By thinking about students walking to school and incorporating those thoughts into the design of our public spaces and infrastructure, we can increase pedestrian traffic while reducing congestion on city streets."

Part of the Feeling Congested consultation exercise, the summit will inform policy development within the Official Plan 5-Year Transportation Review.

Every school day, over 210,000 students across Toronto walk, cycle and use other forms of active transportation to get to and from school. Between 1986 and 2006, the proportion of children driven to school in Toronto doubled from 14 per cent to 28 per cent, while the number of walkers dropped eight per cent. As identified by the Toronto Board of Health, active forms of transportation help increase physical activity for youth, reduce stress, teach safety skills, save money and make streets safer and cleaner.

"Walking to school is an adventure and rite of passage that teaches children to become autonomous adults," said Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's Chief Planner. "Children who walk to school are more likely to be active throughout the day, and more likely to carry that enthusiasm for active transportation to adulthood. We need that enthusiasm in future Torontonians to help solve our congestion troubles, and the City of Toronto is working hard to incorporate the right infrastructure to encourage those modes of active transportation."

“At the Toronto District School Board, we recognize the importance of physical activity for student health and its positive impact on learning,” said Donna Quan, Director of Education at the Toronto District School Board. “Our new TDSB Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation formalizes the board’s commitment to active transportation and is the foundation for safe school travel programs. We look forward to collaborating with our partners and stakeholders to implement the goals of the charter.”

“Student achievement and well-being is at the very heart of our multi-year strategic plan,” said Angela Gauthier, the Toronto Catholic District School Board's Director of Education. “We look forward to sharing the many active and creative ways - like walking school buses - being used by our students to arrive safely."

Speakers at the summit include:
- Councillor Peter Milczyn (Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
- Jennifer Keesmaat, Toronto's Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning
- Donna Quan, Director of Education, Toronto District School Board
- Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health
- Leslie Woo, Vice President, Policy, Planning and Innovation, Metrolinx
- Toronto students and parents

A goal of the summit is to map out partnerships and resources needed to take action to support students' active transportation in Toronto. The "five Es" of active transportation are encouragement, education, engineering, enforcement and evaluation.

More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/health/walking_to_school/index.htm.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator
416-392-3496
bhawkin@toronto.ca

 

 

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