Support active and safe routes to school in the City of Whitehorse

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Whitehorse currently lacks safe cycling routes for children and their families to access Whitehorse schools, especially downtown. The current network of multi-use pathways, unlike motor vehicle roadways, are not adequately connected to form a continuous and accessible route. This forces cyclists to use sidewalks or roads with poor, or no, cycling facilities. This deters children and families from choosing an active commute to school and the downtown core. 

Active commutes for the daily trip to school have been shown to improve our children's health and learning capacity. Increasing active and safe routes to school also improves city traffic issues, while having a significant impact on air pollution and climate change. This would be a tangible action in response to the city's recent declaration of a climate change emergency on September 23rd, 2019. 

The City of Whitehorse's 2018 Bicycle Network Plan details specific solutions to increasing safe and active routes to school - for all ages and abilities. Further, the City of Whitehorse's commissioned report on Transportation Demand Management Plan in 2014 recommended that the City authorize use of its Parking Reserve fund for sustainable transportation modes, as well as a portion of funds received from the Gas Tax Fund.

We, the undersigned, therefore call upon the City of Whitehorse to:

1. Commit to and develop a specific timeline for implementing the priority areas identified in the Bicycle Network Plan (including connecting Two Mile Hill to the Riverfront Trail and improving access to the downtown core) by 2022, as specified in the Bicycle Network Plan.

2. Alter the “Purpose, Criteria, Conditions for Use” portion of the Parking Reserve Fund Bylaw to permit the use of funds for capital costs of projects related to sustainable transportation modes, in order to fund capital and staffing costs required to implement the plan.

Thank you for taking action today to make our city safer and more active, for residents of all ages and abilities.

Sarah Johnson and Jocelyn Land-Murphy

- Sarah Johnson is a mother of three, and teacher at Ecole Whitehorse Elementary. She cycle commutes regularly to school with her children, and became an advocate for safe cycling after being struck by a vehicle on her bicycle while commuting to school in January 2019.

- Jocelyn Land-Murphy is a mother of two and Naturopathic Doctor in Whitehorse. She is the co-ordinator of the daily "bike bus" from Takhini to downtown Whitehorse, and can be seen daily with up to ten smiling children in tow coming down Two Mile Hill.