Car ban scheme launched for Bristol schools
BRISTOL schools are being invited to take part in a pilot scheme to ban cars at drop-off and pick-up times.
Roads immediately outside schools would be shut to traffic at the start and end of the school day, with road closures in some locations enforced using signs, flashing lights and bollards – subject to agreement and support from residents.
Teachers, parents and pupils at city primary and secondary are being invited to express an interest in taking part in the ‘School Streets’ scheme, which was first announced on Clean Air Day last week by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.
It involves Bristol City Council “working closely with communities to create a safer, cleaner environment to travel in” as part of efforts to cut air pollution.
Announcing the pilot project today, the council said it was already working with more than 30 schools through the Modeshift STARS scheme to help families switch to more sustainable journeys, improve safety and increase physical activity. That scheme includes a ‘park and stride’ project in Whitchurch, where families use a local pub car park to drop off their cars before walking children to the school gates.
Walking buses, where parent volunteers walk children to school along a set route, are also being considered.
Council cabinet member for children and young people Helen Godwin, above, said: “Clean air and climate change movements across the UK have been dominated by young people, who are clearly telling politicians to step up and protect their future. The national picture is very much reflected in Bristol and we want our future generations to know we are taking their concerns seriously.
“We need to transform the school run and put much more emphasis on active travel, which will help reduce pollution and create a better environment. There are proven benefits to encouraging our children to start their day walking or cycling to school. Physical activity can increase concentration, as well as encouraging healthy growth and development.”
The council will use existing initiatives, including road safety sessions, Bikeability courses and scooter training to back up the pilot schemes.
Cabinet member for transport Kye Dudd said: “A big part of rush-hour traffic involves the school commute and it’s the volume of children dropped off by car that we need to reduce as much as possible. This would enhance road safety while tackling congestion and improving air quality.
“We know the school run is difficult for busy parents, but we have ways to help make that big change to school drop off and pick up. We also recognise the complexity of Bristol’s transport network and this project will not necessarily work everywhere in the city, but please contact us and we can see what’s possible.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the School Streets pilot is being asked to email either of the cabinet members at Cllr.Helen.Godwin@bristol.gov.uk or Cllr.Kye.Dudd@bristol.gov.uk.
More information about sustainable school journeys can be found here.