It’s the season of change for Whitehorse roads.
In the coming weeks, improved transit services in Whistle Bend are beginning Aug. 17 while drivers ready for a slower speed limit throughout the downtown as of Aug. 23, the same day school starts for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students around the city.
And that will bring with it more school buses on the road, as well as more students on city transit.
The changes for Whistle Bend will see new transit stops added primarily along Casca Boulevard as well as a stop on Keno Way at Casca and Olive May Way at Whistle Bend Place.
Monday to Friday service will continue to be offered via Route 6, which travels through Ingram, Granger, Porter Creek and Whistle Bend. Service is hourly with the first stop in Whistle Bend at 7:10 a.m. at the Casca and Aksala stop. The final stop listed on the weekday schedule is at 9:15 p.m.
The new Saturday route — Route 7, which includes Whistle Bend and Riverdale North — will also be hourly. It will arrive at its first Whistle Bend stop at 7:50 a.m. and make its last stop of the day for Whistle Bend at 6:55 p.m.
On Aug. 23, drivers will have to adjust to a lower speed limit throughout the downtown.
A new speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour (from the current 50 km/h) will be in place with the exception of school zones, which will remain at 30 km/h.
Along with streets in the main part of the downtown, the lower speed limit will also apply to Robert Service Way from Fourth Avenue to Second Avenue.
“Lower speed limits make our roads safer and friendlier for all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, transit, driving, commercial goods movement and emergency response,” the city said in a statement.
Whitehorse city council approved the change in June, with the new speed limit to take effect after signs were posted.
The approval came after months of consideration following a study detailing the benefits of slower speed limits including increased survival rates for pedestrians in collisions.
In addition to streets in the main part of downtown, Robert Service Way from Fourth to Second Avenue will also see a speed reduction to 40 km/hr as part of the changes.
On the same day the speed limit changes come into effect, a new school year will begin with students boarding both school buses and city transit as well as driving, walking or biking to get to class.
High school students around Whitehorse have the option of getting a city bus pass for the school year or registering for a school bus (if they live more than 3.2 kilometres away from the school).
With high school classes typically starting between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., it’s anticipated a number of students will take city transit to get to their schools just before classes start.
The Yukon government’s site shows more than 40 school buses making their way to elementary and high schools in and around the Whitehorse area.
While most school buses will begin their morning routes between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., the earliest bus will hit the road at 6:40 a.m. in Mendenhall on a route that makes its way through a number of areas to a transfer station before heading to École Émilie Tremblay and Elijah Smith Elementary.
At the end of the school day, many buses will finish up their routes before or shortly after 4 p.m., though nine are listed as having their final stop at 4:30 p.m. or later with the final stop at 5:03 p.m. in Mendenhall.
Contact Lawrie Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org