Island schools happy with new bike racks received through active transportation project
Several Island schools received a total of 60 new bike racks that were ready for students when the school year started this fall.
The project was triggered when the provincial Active Transportation (AT) Fund working group put out a call to all schools and 21 responded saying they needed new bike racks. Stratford Elementary School was one of them. Grade 6 student Colin Joseph MacCormac said he was excited when the new racks arrived.
“Before, everyone was squeezing in bikes trying to do two bikes on one rack and it was really hard,” Colin says. Now, the active student rides his bike to school every day.
“I think it’s good to ride to school and everyone needs a good amount of activity in a day.”
School principal Janet Cameron said with more than 200 students at their school riding bikes, they were double stacking and bikes were falling over.
“We filled out the application for additional racks and they were delivered. It was an easy process, and free.”
The bike rack project was a resourceful collaboration between government, community organizations, Holland College and Weld Tech, a local metal fabricating company.
Holland College designed the bike rack and Matthew Fraser was one of four first-year welding and fabrication students to be hired by Weld Tech last summer to build the racks.
“It was a great experience to use the skills I had picked up during my first year in the program,” he said.
Weld Tech owner, Gene Mullen said he had not worked with Holland College students before. “It was a fine experience and the students did a great job. I would do it again.”
Recreation PEI, a not-for-profit that promotes physical activity, managed the project. They contacted welding companies, painters, worked on the design and delivered the bike racks to schools.
“This is part of a larger provincial AT project that’s building pathways and roads so people can be more active,” said Jamie Grosbee, project manager at Recreation PEI.“We want to see that youth are able use more active modes of transportation. Youth getting to and from school in urban areas now can bike, rollerblade or walk.”
For Matthew Fraser the project was an opportunity to give back to the community by promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“If bike racks can inspire more people to ride bikes, I’d build a hundred more.”
The cost of the project was covered by the PEI government’s AT Fund – a $25 million investment over five years to make Island communities more connected and safer for people to walk, skateboard, rollerblade, ride a bike, push a stroller, or use a wheelchair or walker.