School Streets trial set to be launched
Two schools in Gloucestershire are set to take part in the county’s first School Streets trial at the start of next month.
Durham Close, by Warden Hill Primary School in Cheltenham and Rope Walk, outside Tewkesbury C of E Primary School, will be closed to traffic to prioritise those arriving on foot, bike or scooter during drop-off and pick-up times.
The scheme will start in the week commencing 2 November and aims to provide a healthy and safe environment with extra space to allow for social distancing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Potential benefits include improving road safety and air quality, reducing traffic congestion and encouraging active travel and healthy lifestyles for children and families.
The school streets will only be open to pedestrians, cyclists and those with exemptions, including emergency vehicles, Blue Badge holders and residents, from 8.15am to 9.15am and 2.30pm to 3.30pm Monday to Friday.
The road closures will be implemented using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), enabling changes to be made quickly in response to feedback from the public.
The trial will last 12 months to 18 months, during which time a decision will be made whether or not to make it permanent. Six-monthly reviews will be held.
Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet agreed to the trial in July and we have been working closely with the schools since they returned in September.
Kingsholm C of E Primary School was initially chosen to take part in the trial scheme but has requested to delay it until next year. The county council’s Thinktravel team will continue to work with them to explore other road safety initiatives in the meantime.
Each of the three schools has also been provided with a set of ‘Parking Buddies’ - a trial road safety scheme funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The project is part of the PCC’s Safe and Social Roads priority and sees schools given cartoon-style metal cut-outs of mini police officers, each holding up a different road safety message on a lollypop sign.
The messages encourage safer parking, appropriate speeds and considerate road use; and by being the height of a school-age child are designed to catch drivers’ attention.
More information on the School Streets trial is available at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/schoolstreets and a survey will be launched on 2 November through the webpage, so we can find out your views.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We’re always keen to make school travel safer and easier – and that’s why we’re looking carefully at school streets schemes. They have the potential to improve air quality and cut congestion – but we need to see how they work in practice.
“They will also create more space outside the schools so people can keep to social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We will regularly review the trial so I would encourage people to complete the survey after the scheme has launched so we can get your feedback.”