The area around Bannerman Road Community Academy has been radically improved creating a safer environment for pupils and the community after receiving a grant from The Road Safety Trust.
When Bristol City Council identified a road junction next to Bannerman Road Community Academy to be pedestrianised, Bannerman Road PTA took this as an opportunity to apply for funding to create a safe and healthy environment.
The PTA commissioned artist Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad to consult and design a safe and playful space that engaged the local community. Bahbak worked with the children at the school to creatively reimagine the area. Events were held with residents, including a street party and temporary pizza restaurant, to include everyone in the design process.
Following this a new identity was co-created for the area – Frog Marsh. The new pedestrianised space includes a raised table to slow traffic, improved lighting and signage and a museum of bollards – a playful collection of different bollards all painted the same colour that skirts the area, and a large, coloured surface to indicate a child-led space. A series of events celebrated the new area, demonstrating the opportunity that Frog Marsh provides for social and event activity, both for the school and community.
Lucy Badrocke, from Bannerman Road PTA said:
“The project offered new learning opportunities for children in the design of public space and long term, as the school continues to use the area as an extension of the classroom, will support students in understanding the public realm and engaging with their community.
Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad said
“The space can be supervised by teachers but also give the students a sense that they are now in the public realm and they have a different set of responsibilities. We created a small stage as it recurred in some of the children’s drawings, and we included elements like this that the children had come up with.”
Sustrans were commissioned to evaluate the success and impact of the road closure. They found that traffic around the school was recorded to have reduced by 68 per cent across school drop off and collection times and a 29-percentage point increase in people saying they would now walk to the school.
Ben Bowskill, Partnerships and Public Affairs Manager for the west of England from Sustrans said:
“The changes to this junction have created a safer space for children, families, and residents to walk and cycle through. Frog Marsh has eliminated a local rat run, reduced traffic speeds, and increased space for play near the school.”
Sonya Hurt, CEO of The Road Safety Trust said:
“Evidence has shown that forty per cent of safety-related incidents involving children occur in the morning or evening of a school day* so this project provided a real opportunity to help improve safety around school.
“The work that Bannerman Road PTA has undertaken has made a real impact to the volume of traffic in the area and highlights the benefits of partnership working to achieve positive results.”
Since it was established in 2014, the Road Safety Trust has awarded grants worth around £5m to over 70 different projects. It is the largest road safety grant giver in the UK and funds vital research and practical interventions committed to reducing the number of people killed or injured on UK roads.
Find further information about the project and read the project report and technical evaluation Bannerman Road Community School PTA — Road Safety Trust. You can also watch a short film about Frog Marsh on the project website frogmarsheaston.com.