Lord Roberts Elementary School is located in the West End, a dense, walkable inner-urban neighbourhood. The school has a relatively small catchment, meaning that the majority of families live close enough to walk to and from school.
Roberts Elementary has the smallest outdoor space per student of any elementary school in the district. It is the third-largest elementary school in VSB39 (650 students), but its grounds are relatively small, with a single field and playground, a couple of fenced basketball courts and a picnic area.
The school grounds are intensely used out of school hours by the local community that largely dwells in tall apartment buildings and other multi-family housing.
There is a separated bike lane on the block of Comox Street up the hill from busy Denman Street up to Bidwell Street where the school is located, but it disappears once it reaches the school. In January 2020 the Roberts PAC submitted a petition signed by around 300 Roberts parents and caregivers asking for the City to continue the separated bike lane up past the school. Due to space constraints and the location of mature trees, a bike lane wasn’t feasible.
Roberts was one of four Vancouver schools invited to participate in the City’s School Street program pilot which ran for four weeks from April 12 to May 7, 2021. The program creates a car-free block adjacent to a school at drop off and pickup times. The pilot was a huge success with neighbourhood traffic and air pollution reduced, and active transport participation increased at all the pilot schools. https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/school-streets-pilot-report.pdf
The decision was made to run the School Street program through the school year at all four schools beginning in September 2021, but only Roberts was able to supply the volunteers needed to sustain the program on an ongoing basis. Many additional schools have participated in the School Street program but only Roberts’ Comox School Street has been running continuously since September 2021 with a core group of Roberts parents and a few supportive community members sustaining the program.
We gratefully live, work and play on the unceded and traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples – sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.