Trial schemes to reduce school run traffic made permanent
The first School Streets trial in Gloucestershire, aimed at reducing school gate congestion by encouraging more walking and cycling, is to be made permanent.
Two schools, Tewkesbury C of E Primary School and Warden Hill Primary School in Cheltenham, have been involved in the initiative since it was launched in November 2020.
Rope Walk, at Tewkesbury, and Durham Close, by Warden Hill, are only open at school run times for those travelling by foot, bike or scooter, to create a safer, cleaner environment and encourage sustainable and healthier streets for all.
The School Streets are open to pedestrians, cyclists and those with exemptions, including local residents, emergency vehicles and Blue Badge holders, for a short period at the start and end of each school day. Residents are issued with permits ensuring they can enter and leave the street without restriction.
The road closures and any other waiting restrictions are implemented using a legal process called Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs), which includes consultation with the public. The county council’s Thinktravel team has been working closely with the schools and local residents and the scheme has been kept under review throughout the 18-month process.
Feedback from the consultation revealed many families felt safer walking, scooting and cycling to school because of the reduction in traffic congestion and hazardous parking. It also highlighted concerns of residents of Durham Close about access, which council officers will follow up over the summer.
A decision to make the trial at both schools permanent has now been made under delegated powers by Philip Williams, Assistant Director of Traffic and Transport at Gloucestershire County Council, taking into account all feedback received.
The School Streets scheme at both locations will still be monitored and further consultation and engagement will continue with Warden Hill Primary School and local residents, ahead of the school’s move into a new building on the existing school site in September 2022.
Cllr Dom Morris, cabinet member for road safety (implementation), said: “I am pleased we are able to make this trial permanent. It has been a lengthy process to ensure everyone has been able to have their say and while we appreciate there have been some objections, there has been a positive reaction from the school communities and many residents, whose quality of life has improved through reduced traffic on their streets.
“This initiative has helped to make it easier and more enjoyable for families to walk, cycle or scoot to school, whilst improving air quality and encouraging healthier lifestyles.”