“It’s such a small thing, but I think it’ll have a huge impact.”
This is the hope of Renada Walstrom, a registered nurse at Nak’azdli Health.
Walstrom is behind the Pace Car Program locally, a nationwide program which encourages community members to make a pledge to drive with courtesy and safety in mind and then display a window or bumper sticker on their cars.
The pledge drivers sign states:
“When Driving, I will: Recognize that my car use impacts the livability of other residents’ streets, just as theirs impacts mine; agree to drive the posted speed limit on all roads; stop to let pedestrians cross and be courteous to bicyclists and other road users; minimize my car use by using active transportation (walking, cycling, etc.), using transit, car-pooling and combining trips whenever possible; display my Pace Car stickers on the back of my vehicle and encourage other to take the pledge.”
Walstrom found the initiative of Safe Kids Canada online and felt it would be a good fit for the community.
“I think it’s just a way of taking back the highway or the roads,” said Walstrom. Something made more necessary by the large amount of out-of-area traffic in the community. Walstrom wants pedestrians to feel safe if they choose to walk, and she likes the way the program encourages drivers to recognize the responsibility which can come with driving, and every driver has a responsibility to help keep the streets safe.
This responsibility is something which was brought sharply into focus when an 11-year-old boy was struck and killed in November while crossing the street at night. The tragic death of Nolan Alexis made the need to address pedestrian safety in the community much more apparent.
By driving the speed limit and with a conscious attention for pedestrians in the residential and downtown areas, the hope is drivers can be part of the solution rather than the problem.
So far, Walstrom has over 16 people who have taken the pledge, and she is just getting started.
The pledge sheets and stickers will be available at the Fort St. James District office, at the Northern Interior Health Unit, at schools, Nak’azdli Health, and at the College of New Caledonia. She is also going to be taking them to some of the industry road users in town so they can bring the campaign to their employees.