Three more schools in the Bradford district will shortly be launching innovative School Streets schemes designed to improve safety, as well as reduce traffic congestion and air pollution outside the schools.
The latest schools to adopt a School Street are Farfield Primary & Nursery School in Buttershaw, St Philips CE Primary Academy in Girlington, and Newby Primary School in West Bowling.
A School Street restricts vehicle access near to a school during the busy times when children are dropped off and picked up.
The aim is to help provide a safer, calmer, happier, healthier space for our children as they arrive at school, reduce congestion around the school, prevent dangerous driving, parking and turning outside school where there are lots of children and families, reduce air pollution (caused by engines running) and noise pollution, and encourage and make it safer for walking, cycling, wheeling, and scooting to school.
When a School Street is introduced, parents and carers are encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk, scoot or cycle with their children to and from school where possible. Those who drop their children off as part of a longer journey or can’t avoid driving their child to school are encouraged to park safely and considerately on quieter streets a little further away from school and walk the last part of the journey.
Because a School Street is designed to make a safer, calmer, healthier environment for children, the restrictions will only be in place during term time and at times linked to the start and end of the school day. Signs at the entry points will notify drivers of the timed restrictions.
The schools involved will be sending out regular communications to parents/carers. These will remind them about the School Street and encourage families to walk, cycle, or scoot to school as well as reminding those who do need to use the car to park safely and considerately on quieter streets further away from school. Where possible, schools may also put out portable road closed signs to provide a physical and visual reminder of the restrictions.
Some vehicles, for example, those belonging to residents and businesses within the School Street, will be given a permit to enter and leave the area. Some special groups of vehicles such as emergency vehicles, utility providers on emergency calls, and blue badge holders – when their destination is within the School Street zone – are exempt.
Residents and premises affected by a School Street have been notified and invited to apply for an access permit. In practice, it is hoped that people within the zone will try to avoid moving their vehicle at the restricted times to keep the space as safe as possible for children.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m delighted that more School Street schemes are being adopted by schools across the district. These schemes offer a proactive solution for school and local communities to help them tackle safety and congestion around schools, especially at drop-off and pick-up times. Sadly, we hear reports of dangerous and inconsiderate driver behaviour outside school gates, which puts children’s lives at risk.
“Temporarily closing roads outside schools is a great way to create a safer, healthier, and more pleasant space for everyone’s benefit. And even if you can’t leave the car at home every day, you will be making a difference every time that you do, and by parking further away from school, you will help to make the air cleaner and roads safer.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We know that pollution from cars seriously affects children’s health and makes conditions like asthma worse. One in three cases of childhood asthma in the Bradford District relates to air pollution.
“Walking, cycling, or scooting to and from school are simple ways to stay healthy. We are encouraging everyone to join the 20 Minute Movement campaign, which aims to inspire people of all ages to move their bodies for at least 20 minutes a day, as this can really help to improve your child’s and your own physical and mental health. You will also save money on fuel as well as making the air cleaner and roads safer.
“We hope that lots more children and families will feel able to walk, cycle, or scoot to school for at least part of the journey.
“If everyone supports these School Streets, traffic congestion and pollution will be less and the areas outside school will be a nicer, safer, and healthier place for children and families at the start and end of the school day.”