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Parents encouraged to walk children to school in traffic-reduction campaign

Toronto police have a simple plan to help reduce traffic and parking issues around schools — leave the car at home.

Police, in partnership with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ministry of Transportation, are kicking off a month-long pedestrian safety campaign on Thursday morning, calling on parents to walk their children to school.

The Walk Your Kids to School Challenge was launched at 9 a.m. at Ledbury Park Elementary and Middle School, located near Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue.

The campaign is “aimed at increasing pedestrian safety among school-aged children and reducing vehicle-pedestrian conflicts around school areas,” a police release said.

It’s a challenge between classes at all public elementary schools across Ontario to have the most number of students being walked to and from school by a parent of guardian, instead of being driven.

Susan, a mother of two, who lives near the Ledbury school, told 680News it seems hardly anyone walks anymore.

“Nobody lives more than a kilometre from the school and half the kids get dropped off in cars. It’s pathetic,” she said.

“I think everybody would benefit from [walking].”

Zoe, who was en route to drop off her two daughters at a school two blocks away, said she walks her children to school every morning.

Police are reminding pedestrians to observe the following safety rules (courtesy of Toronto police):

  • Do the BRIGHT thing! Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips when possible, when walking in dusk or darkness.
  • Be alert, visible and aware of what is around you at all times on any road.
  • Cross the street at marked intersections and crosswalks.
  • Obey traffic signals and signs.
  • Look all ways before you cross the street.
  • Watch for traffic turning at intersections or entering and leaving driveways.
  • Cross the road when traffic has come to a complete stop and make sure drivers see you before you cross.
  • Play in a safe area away from road traffic or near parked cars
  • Do not wear distracting equipment such as headphones when crossing the road.
  • Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, when there are no sidewalks available.

How do your kids get to school? Let us know in the comments.