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Monday, June 17, 2024

‘School streets’ to be extended

A scheme to close roads around primary schools off to most traffic at the start and end of the school day will be rolled out to five more schools.

School Streets was a pilot scheme introduced at nine Bradford Schools in 2021.

It involved schools that were not on major roads, and saw the road around the school gates closed to cars at drop off and pick up times.

It was in a bid to encourage more families to walk to school and to reduce dangerous congestion around the school gates.

A recent report into the pilot has revealed that it led to a drop in traffic of up to 77 per cent at drop off and pick up times.

But just four of the nine schools in the pilot will be carrying on the scheme – with concerns raised over how schools can police traffic with their limited resources.

The schools from the pilot that will stay school streets are Girlington Primary School, High Crags Primary School, Shipley CofE Primary School and Westminster Primary School.

The report, which recent went to Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee, revealed that at almost every school in the pilot there was a significant drop in the number of cars entering the zone when the school streets were in operation.

Traffic levels from December 2022, the end of the pilot scheme, were compared to traffic levels in June 2021, when the pilot began.

At one of the Shipley schools there was a 77 per cent drop in car traffic outside the school, while traffic levels outside of Girlington Primary School fell by 50 per cent.

Referring to the four schools that will become permanent school streets, the report said: “These School Streets will receive permanent signage and have a soft relaunch.

“At school sites where the scheme has not been retained, officers across a number of teams (including Highways, Road Safety, Public Health and Neighbourhoods) are continuing to work with the schools to explore alternative interventions to improve road safety and reduce pollution for the school communities.”

The report also revealed that Bradford Council had been granted Government funding to roll out the project to another five schools.

A Council spokesman said the list for the extra school streets has not yet been finalised, but an announcement is expected “in spring.”

On these new schools, the report said: “Lessons learnt from the pilot schools have been integrated into the process for the new schools.

“For example, all School Street sites will be provided with permanent signage from the offset, and a new toolkit which was developed following feedback from pilot schools, has been shared to all prospective schools to help them better understand the scheme, what is expected of schools, and what support is available.”

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