Frequently Asked Questions

Can these models undermine children’s understanding of road safety?A study from the University of Bristol shows that children as young as 6 years old recognize whether a street is closed to traffic or not. They are clearly able to describe the visual and auditory clues that indicate that a street is open to traffic and know how to determine when it is unsafe to play or stroll in. This study also showed that this type of program does not hinder their knowledge of road safety rules. 

What equipment is used to close the street to traffic?
The street is closed off using barriers and signage that can be easily moved by volunteers. 

Can I get to my house when the street is closed to traffic?
In our pilot projects, residents who lived on the School Street were allowed to circulate freely. Residents travelling in a vehicle will be able to use the street, but the volunteers will make sure they are moving at the same speed as pedestrians. 

Do School Streets happen in winter? What about snow clearing? Or garbage collection?
The programs will be held from September 2021 to August 2022, which includes winter. The implementation team collaborates with the city’s public works department to make sure the snow-clearing and garbage-collection schedules do not interfere with the School Streets. 

How do you deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?
We closely follow directives put forward by Regional public health directors and School boards to make sure the environments are safe. Furthermore, we feel it is extremely important to encourage children to establish social ties after the long period of isolation. Initiatives such as School Streets and Play Streets meet this essential need. 

School Streets


Are there other School Streets in Canada?
Initiatives have been tried briefly in Victoria, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario. Isaac Brock public school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, implemented a School Street during the 2020–2021 school year. School Streets will also be set up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Markham, Ontario. We have the opportunity to be leaders in Québec, conducting avant-garde research into active transport and showing our children that our community is ready to innovate to ensure their safety and well-being.

In what way do School Streets encourage active transport to get to school? 
School Streets offer calm, safe spaces, encouraging parents to let their children move about actively. School Streets therefore help promote active transportation for part of the route children use to get to school. This is essential to reinforce children’s ability to commute actively, eventually travelling greater distances, such as from home all the way to school. 

Do School Streets create traffic jams on neighbouring streets?
Previously run programs have shown that this does not happen. When drivers do not have a designated space to drop off their children, they disperse across different streets to park, reducing congestion. In Winnipeg, a 15% decrease in traffic near the school was noted following a pilot project. 

Do these programs punish parents who drive their children to school?
School Streets are not intended to be punitive. The goal is to create safe conditions for students when they get to school and when they leave school. Traffic jams, blind spots, speeding and dangerous turns are real risks for the hundreds of children and adults going to and from school each day. From 2012 to 2018, more than 6000 collisions took place near educational establishments in Québec. It is therefore important to identify simple solutions. According to our estimates, School Streets may lengthen the morning routine of families who drive their children to school by 2 to 5 minutes.

We understand that it can be difficult to adapt, but we feel that it is a minor change to make, considering the positive effects for children and their parents. In addition to the benefits named above, research has shown that parents who park 2 or 3 blocks away are less stressed, since they avoid traffic congestion near the school. 

Play Streets


Are there other Play Streets in Canada?
Play Streets were briefly tested in Toronto and Kingston, Ontario, and in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Toronto initiative, called StreetPLAY, was well received by the community in question, as was the Kingston project, indicating interest for this type of project.

Are Play Streets aimed only at children?
By offering an environment free of car traffic that is conducive to meeting neighbours, Play Streets are also greatly appreciated by adults! It is clear from experiences elsewhere in the world that Play Streets provide benefits for the whole community. There was increased neighbourhood cohesion and socialization among adults.

Do these programs create noise issues?
For sure, Play Streets are full of the sounds of children playing. It is important to remember, however, that it is a community-led project. It is therefore up to the community to adjust the programming hours if noise is disturbing the neighbourhood residents on the Play Street. 

Furthermore, considering that neighbourhoods belong as much to children as to adults, it is important to give as much weight to the benefits of Play Streets for children as to the possible nuisance some adults might experience.

Should I worry about property damage? What happens if my car is damaged? 
One British study analyzing a hundred or so Play Street sessions showed that there was very little property damage. If some residents are still worried, they can move their vehicles to their driveway or a neighbouring alley or street for the indicated duration of the Play Street. 

In addition, efforts are made to teach children which games are appropriate in a Play Street. The volunteers make sure the children respect private property and encourage them to play in the middle of the street so that they are not next to parked cars. 

If personal property is damaged, the responsibility is the same as it would be in any other situation. Volunteers on site and nearby parents can help in case of damage. 

Do Play Streets attract children from other neighbourhoods?
Since the street is a public space, no child is barred from using a Play Street. Based on prior experience, Play Streets attract mainly children who live nearby. 

Why set up a Play Street when children can play in the park or in their yard? 
A Play Street gives children the opportunity to play and be active without planning an activity and without the need for adult accompaniment. While 71% of adults played in their neighbourhood when they were young, only 21% of children do so today. This decreases their overall level of physical activity. A British study found that free play in Play Streets was more likely than a planned physical activity to substitute for sedentary activities. 

Who is responsible for closing the street to traffic and organizing the Play Street?
A team of volunteers who live near the Play Street is responsible for placing the barriers and removing them at the beginning and end of the Play Street.