Glasgow City Council is to raise its efforts on road safety for primary school pupils across the city with a plan to introduce car free zones around 21 city primary schools.
An on-going trial of car free zones has seen significant reductions in traffic around six primary schools with 69% fewer vehicles identified outside those schools during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Research from Napier University also shows the school car free zones have a positive impact on the perception of road safety and encourage active travel in the wider community.
Plans to build on the initial success of the trial have been brought forward through the council’s Spaces for People programme, which has created additional road space for physical distancing for walking, wheeling and cycling as part of the effort to suppress the spread of Covid-19.
The 21 schools identified as potential locations for a car free zone either requested involvement in the scheme or were nominated by parents or local elected members. Work to engage with parents, pupils and teachers at the 21 schools is now underway. A full list of the 21 schools can be found below.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, welcomed the expansion of the school car free zone scheme. She said: “There has been a very positive response to the car free zone trial with a big drop in traffic around the six schools at the times for the school run. Significantly fewer cars at the school gate for when the bell goes makes it much safer for children to get to and from school.
“With calmer roads around those schools there are greater opportunities for children to come and go safely from school on foot or by bike, which is great for health and well-being.
“The Covid crisis is still with us and the concern about the need physical distancing remains at the forefront of people’s minds. Extra space outside schools will help staff and pupils get to school safely rather than deal with the often chaotic scenes witnessed at drop-off and pick-up times.”
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years, said: “All the evidence we have points towards car free zones making the school gate a safer place for children to be. It’s always been our intention to expand the use of school car free zones as much as possible and we are responding to where interest has been expressed.
“Parents routinely talk to us about road safety and want to know their children will be safe as they come and go from school. The school car free zones are providing the kind of reassurance parents are looking for on road safety and they can also support physical distancing during this unprecedented time.
“We will now be engaging with the 21 school communities on the plans to introduce further car free zones and we hope to press ahead quickly to implementation. “
It is proposed the new car free zones will be initially introduced on a temporary basis to allow them to be implemented quickly, with measures hoped to be in place by October this year. The zones are designed to prohibit cars and other vehicles from driving up to school gates between 8.30am and 9.15am and then 2.30pm and 3.15pm each week day during term time.
Blue badge drivers are exempt and residents within the zones will be issued with permits that allow them to park without penalty. But any other driver who enters the zone during the specified times can be fined £50 by police.
For any car free zone to become permanent a full traffic regulation order will be required. Expanding the school car free zone scheme was recommended by Glasgow’s Climate Emergency Working Group.