Trustee Candidates respond to our questions about Active Transportation

Youth en Route, together with Bike Calgary , asked trustee candidates for their thoughts about active transportation to school. At the last Calgary City Council meeting in September, councillors unanimously passed a motion to “Prioritize Schools for improvements to the 5A network.” (5A means Always Accessible for All Ages and Abilities.)

While city administration comes up with a plan and fund improvements, we want to make sure that school board trustees governing the board are ready and willing to be active partners to make the infrastructure changes that will help keep students safe, active and give them a choice of transportation to school.


  1. Do you agree that AST (Active School Transportation) should be a priority for Calgary schools? Will you support the adoption of school board policies which specifically promote and enable AST?
  2. What actions will you take to ensure that schools are effectively accommodated as a priority in building the 5A Network?

Calgary Board of Education Trustee Candidates

Wards 1&2

Wards 3&4

Najeeb Butt

  1. I think implementing the option to have active school travel is excellent for our children.  I believe it would further raise their awareness of the environment, instill a habit of being active and much more.
  2. My action would be to get students, families and educators excited about this and it can only be done by speaking with them.  I would look to be a voice for it in meetings and upon my conversations with shareholders.

Wards 5&10

Jay Chowdhury

  1. As a current contender, running for school board trustee, representing Wards 5 and 10. I believe strongly in cultivating a thriving transportation network of numerous accessible pathways that would allow for ease of transportation and efficient navigation that would greatly benefit residents within, and nearby school areas (students, adults, and seniors), provided it is accessible year-round. The efforts brought forward by the Calgary non-profit organization Bike Calgary and Youth en Route, harbors the potential for setting a positive impact in Canada’s continuing efforts to reduce our carbon emissions, promoting environmental sustainability, accommodating all citizens from all demographics-aligning with the 5A accessibility principle.
  2. If elected as school board trustee, for Wards 5 and 10. I will advocate tirelessly through meetings, plans/proposals, and pledge to be involved actively in all the steps that are part of the decision-making process, in establishing greater accessibility towards diverse demographics (irrespective of age, background, and ability). I will advocate for the designing/constructing of such accessible bike/pathways to foster alternatives to using personal vehicles, thus promoting ethical responsibility in environmental sustainability. In addition, my primary domain as elected School Board Trustee, would be committed to educating/raising awareness of the need for sustainable urban planning design to students, parents, educators and school staff, and the importance of the 5A network.

Wards 6&7

Barbara Lapointe

  1.  As a candidate for school trustee in Wards 6 & 7, I am proud to support Active School Transit (AST).  I am energized by the idea of Calgary schools collaborating with AST.  Our schools prioritizing AST is a healthy step closer to supporting students’ mental and physical health.
  2. Calgary schools are a natural catalyst for the 5A Network.  As a school trustee,  I would support the 5A Network Guiding Principles.  It’s a pleasure to reminisce on the fond memories of walking and riding my bike to school.  As a trustee, I pledge to work with all stakeholders to prioritize the 5A Network through meaningful collaboration, public initiatives, and awareness campaigns.   I applaud Youth En Route and Bike Calgary’s goals and vision.

Patricia Bolger

  1. I remember walking, biking and running to school every day in elementary and I fully support Active School Travel. We need students to be safe while travelling back and forth to school.  This improves not only their physical health but also their mental health and well-being.
  1. I look forward to learning what supports are required and what needs to be done in order to facilitate this important initiative.

Wards 8&9

Susan Vukadinovic

  1. Thank you for getting me up to speed about Motion PFC2021-1365 (September 2021) and The City of Calgary’s Active and Safe Routes to School program. I’m glad to hear that this groundwork has been laid, thanks in great part to the advocacy of Youth En Route and Bike Calgary. Well done!
  2. If I am elected, I will connect with Youth En Route, Bike Calgary and Ever Active Schools (everactive.org) and the City of Calgary staff members who worked on Motion PFC2021-1365 to continually push for their implementation, so that these words on paper translate into actual improvements in infrastructure (bike lanes, curb cuts, sidewalk bump outs for pedestrian visibility, pedestrian islands on busy streets, paint or alternate road surface materials to more clearly identify pedestrian crosswalks for motorists, and other traffic-slowing measures).

David Barrett

  1. Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that active school travel, or active modes transportation, should be a priority for Calgary schools. I was excited to see the notice of motion put forward at the last council meeting in September, prioritizing the A5 network to/from and connecting neighbourhoods to schools. I will not only support, but will lead and prioritize policies that promote and enable AST. I have been very active on this front in my community and would continue this as a priority if elected. AST helps students learn better as physical exercise has been shown to improve attention and retention.
  2. A core component of my platform is focused on building a better connection between the CBE and the City, specifically around transportation and planning. One of the actions that I will take to ensure schools are prioritized in the 5A network build out, is to push the existing cross-organization working group tasked with overseeing this topic to advance their work more quickly. Additionally, I would look to build on my relationships within City of Calgary administration, and build relationships with new the new City council to stress the importance of the 5A network to and from schools. Finally, I would work to identify funding sources to improve storage and safety infrastructure (ie covered bike racks, appropriate lighting, etc) at school buildings. This type of infrastructure needs to be prioritized at schools across the City, ensuring equitable access and use.

Wards 11&13

Nancy Close

  1. Active School Travel (AST) should be a priority for all Calgary schools and I will support the adoption of school board policies that promote and enable AST. Neighbourhood schools where kids can safely walk/bike to school are critical to a students’ physical and mental health and active travel to school sets up students for a successful school day. AST also supports environmental sustainability. We need to find ways to get kids out of their/parents’ cars, and support travelling to school safely.
  2.  The CBE can partner with the City of Calgary to support a school system response in support of comprehensive school health programs offered by Everactive Schools and the work that Youth En Route is doing. We can do this through policy, advocacy and education along with Board/Council relationships. Individual schools are successfully achieving a change in culture related to AST to schools but they will need help with necessary City/CBE infrastructure upgrades that specifically support school routes.

Wards 12&14

Charlene May

  1. AST is a wonderful initiative that can be used in schools regardless of age and grade level.  As a Board we can encourage alternative transportation to school as well as safety initiatives. Providing resources and information to schools and students, they can determine what are the specific barriers to alternate transport in students.
  2. When new schools are built they can be designed with alternate transport, safe storage, bike networks, and continued education initiatives.  We can encourage communities and schools to collaborate to help foster movement in students.

Dar Zuch

  1. Transportation is important and there should be more options available for kids.   When I was my daughters age up in Edmonton, our bike racks were stuffed full without room for a single additional bike.  Today the bike racks are almost empty.  The physical exercise that kids get from riding bikes to school or walking increases their mental agility in the morning and help them perform better in their classes. Today the Provincial government has a transportation department.  That transportation department plays a minor role in k-12 school activities if at all.  With 20-25% of the cities population participating in k-12 school on a daily basis, the Transportation department of Alberta should be playing a significant role in the mobility of these students, our neighbours as they participate in school.
  2. The Education Act that defines the role of the Trustee does not include transportation within the scope of education except that it an auxiliary requirement for students to arrive at school in order to receive education.  The school board receives and spends significant monies on bussing.  In my opinion, the Transportation department of Alberta should significantly update their mandate to give priority to the 20-25% of Calgary’s population that is involved in k-12 school on a daily basis.   I intend to more clearly define the roles of teachers and students in schools and help isolate the education component from the broader scope now provided by Calgary Schools.  I then intend to build relationships with the various municipal, provincial and federal bodies to help them identify their greater role in this population segment and their need to shift significant funding to this segment.  This includes transportation which in my opinion is one of the largest non-core services provided by Alberta Education and the school board today.

Calgary Catholic Trustee Candidates

Wards 13&14

Mary Martin (Acclaimed)

  1. I do believe that active school travel (AST) should be a priority for Calgary schools, and for the following reasons: Active transport enhances student physical health through exercise
    Active transport supports positive mental health for the same reasons
    Especially in a COVID 19 pandemic, reducing ridership on crowded metro public transportation supports the health of not only students, but also their families
    Community connections are enhanced when students are actively engaged in their local environments
  2. If AST is to be a reality, advocacy and relationship building by trustees with a variety of stakeholders becomes crucial:
    Advocacy to Alberta Education, Infrastructure, and Treasury is needed to support the construction of schools where AST is a reasonable and safe option.
    Advocacy to municipal partners to ensure that roadways have appropriate signage, as well as speed limits that would support safe AST.
    Education, engagement, and encouragement of local school communities to embrace AST.

Bike Calgary has also asked 5 questions of all Mayoral and Councillor candidates and have posted responses. 

Thanks for taking the time to get educated about candidates views on sustainable, active and fun transportation. Make sure you vote on Oct. 18. See the Elections web site for voter information. 

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