Bradford Council is launching a pilot scheme designed to encourage more sustainable and healthy travel for school children. The scheme will help to improve safety and pollution levels at the school gates; at the beginning and end of the school day.
School Streets will be trialled at 11 primary schools across the district.
The School Streets scheme will limit traffic on a number of roads close to schools at drop off and pick up times. This will mean the majority of vehicles will not be allowed to drive into these streets around schools at start and finish times. Separate access arrangements will be made for local residents and businesses while some vehicles, such as the emergency services, and those for people with mobility issues will be exempt.
It is hoped the scheme will encourage parents to leave the car at home and walk, scoot or cycle with their children to school wherever possible. For those who can’t avoid driving to their child’s school, it is hoped they will park some distance away from the school gates and walk the rest of the way, providing an easy way to get more exercise and help make schools safer whilst reducing harmful car exhaust emissions in the air around the schools – a ‘park and stride’ arrangement.
A group of schools, spread across the district’s five parliamentary constituencies, has been identified to trial the programme. The schools are: Eastwood Primary, Girlington Primary, Grove House Primary, High Crags Primary, Holycroft Primary, Ley Top Primary, Newhall Park Primary, Shipley CE Primary, St Matthews CE Primary, St Stephens CE Primary and Westminster CE Primary. Consultation with the schools and other key stakeholders has been carried out and responses have been positive.
Additionally, key community-based partners including Better Start Bradford and the Sport England local delivery pilot JU:MP are providing support.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “Many schools, families and local residents are understandably concerned by congestion, road safety and air pollution around schools at pick-up and drop-off times.
“By temporarily closing roads outside a school we believe we can create a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone’s benefit.
“We are excited to work with the 11 schools and see the improvements School Streets can deliver to our communities.”
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “As a council we are committed to supporting all our residents to have better health and better lives.
“School Streets can encourage more families to get out of their cars and walk or cycle to school and that can help everyone get more exercise. And with fewer cars and less congestion, road safety and air quality can improve.”
St Stephen’s CE Primary School’s science leader and Year 6 teacher, Jamie Thorpe, said: “We are proud and excited to be involved in something that not only aims to help lower pollution and improve air quality, but also improve the health levels of our students and their families through encouraging healthier modes of transport to school.
“In turn, we hope that this will encourage our students and future generations to lead the way in reducing pollution and climate change, improve air quality and lead healthier and happier lives.”
A report will be presented to the Council’s Regeneration and Environment, Overview and Scrutiny committee next Tuesday (1 December 2020) which will outline progress on the project. The report also provides information on a further project being developed to enable the introduction of Play Streets, although there are no plans to launch this initiative in the immediate future due to the pandemic restrictions.