Walk to School Info Session 17 February 2005
Parents of students and interested members of the community are invited to attend an Information Session on the Travel & Walk to School Program, to be held at the Bicentennial Centre in Sunshine Beach on Thursday, February 17th between 3.30 and 5.30 pm.
Works & Community Services Chair Cr Vivien Griffin explained today that apart from significant benefits to the health and safety (and even flowing on to academic prowess) of students the project to promote walking, cycling and school bus travel has far-reaching benefits for reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and additional parking needs.
"This program is tied into Council's initiatives to push more walking and cycling and links to TravelSmart and the Cycling and Walking Strategy," said Cr Griffin. "Schools are a natural setting to influence the physical activity behaviours of young people and Walk to School will be operated by responsible volunteer walking leaders who will receive extensive training through the Walk to School Program.
"TravelSmart's representative Brodie Cambourne has been auditing the cluster of schools at Sunshine Beach with our Travel Demand Management Officer Nigel Walker. The network will include Sunshine Beach State School, St Thomas More and the Sunshine Beach High. The latter is a key element to success as we will be looking to the older students to support the State Schoolers.
"At the moment we have not decided on a name for the Noosa initiative, although the term Noosa Green School Travel Program has been put forward. We would welcome suggestions from members of the public to give the project a very local flavour.
"Our long-term aim is to achieve a 10% reduction in car use to and from school by using travel alternatives such a walking, cycling, bus travel and car pooling. In parallel it will raise awareness of the impacts of car use on the environment, the community and the individual and promote the positive benefits of seeking and implementing travel alternatives to the car.
"Traffic congestion around Noosa schools is increasing and posing a safety hazard to students at the same time as levels of cycling and walking to schools are decreasing, affecting the physical health and wellbeing of students and the community in general.
"Due to that increasing traffic congestion, parents are reluctant to allow children to walk and cycle due to fear of an accident. Authority response is to increase signage, traffic calming and improve parking and drop off areas. However, these measures do not tackle the problem at its source. Ironically the danger from traffic increases as more children are driven to school, creating a vicious cycle.
"Parenting trends have changed and many parents do not have the time to walk or cycle with their child to school or to drop them off on the way to work. At the same time, they are concerned with stranger danger and do not feel comfortable with children travelling alone.
"This program may not have all the answers but we hope it will have quite a few. I urge interested parents to take a couple of hours to join us on Thursday the 17th to lend their support."
Photograph to the right: TravelSmart Walk to School programme co-ordinator Brodie Cambourne and Noosa Council Travel Demand Management Officer Nigel Walker on site at Sunshine Beach
• For further information, please contact : Cr Vivien Griffin - 5448 2526
or Publicity Officer Susie Osmaston
07 5449 5282; fax : 07 5447 1062; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.noosa.qld.gov.au
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