This column is imaginary correspondence between Maddie the Motorist, Byron the Bicyclist and Patty the Pedestrian.
Dear Maddie the Motorist;
In Grade 1, I walked two miles to school, then we moved next to a school. In Grade five I biked to school just five minutes away.
Today we see traffic jams around schools before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m.
Imagine no traffic jams around your child’s school. Imagine getting some exercise walking a block or two to school. Imagine a safer street for kids. Imagine the kids who live close to school walking or biking all the way.
In B.C. they are called Car Free Zones. A street by the school is temporary closed when kids get dropped off and picked up. Schools in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna are trying out the program.
It won’t work for all schools, organizers say. It depends on a lot of things including where the school is situated and the willingness of parents, staff and neighbours to go with the program.
Well, Maddie, do you think this idea is mad?
Signed, Patty the Pedestrian
Hi Patty Wacko!
You are both mad and wacko too. Get out of the car and walk!? I want to stay in my steel cocoon!
But wait — when we let the kids out, what do they do? They head for the nearest puddle and make a big splash. They jump in the nearest pile of snow. They run to catch up with friends. The physical activity gives them fresh air too!
Mmmm. Maybe we should think about the car free zone idea. I could get out of my steel cocoon and walk the kids the last block or two. And I might just get some fresh air and exercise too!
Sorry, I guess maybe you aren’t so wacko Patty.
Signed; Maddie the Motorist
Bert Groenenberg is a cyclist and pedestrian who has mainly biked or walked to work on Oliver Street for 30 years.