Trials of the School Streets initiative at a number of Norfolk schools are set to move to the next stage over coming weeks. The scheme which was announced earlier this year is designed to make hundreds of pupils’ daily journeys safer and healthier.
For the first time road closures at the start and end of the school day are due to be put in place at 3 schools in Norfolk. The aim is to cut congestion, boost cycling and walking, improve air quality and make the area safer and more pleasant for everyone.
Schools taking part in the trial have been selected as they face known congestion and safety issues, have tried a range of methods to ease problems in the past, and this scheme offers a chance to try something new.
The School Streets scheme is being run with partners Sustrans who have extensive experience of delivering this initiative in other areas of the UK.
Since March the Sustrans team have been talking to and getting feedback from schools, parents and carers, and local residents, and this feedback is helping to shape the plans to suit each location.
Travel options have been explored with parents to ensure any concerns are addressed, and there will be people that the closure will not apply to – these will include people who live within the closure, and pupils, parents and carers with limited mobility.
Initial feedback from the consultations at the three schools above showed that three quarters of parents and carers, residents and staff think cars park unsafely near the school, two thirds of parents and carers and residents support the School Streets trials and three quarters of children want to walk, cycle or wheel to school.
Further monitoring will take place once the road closures are up and running. This will provide the school and local community with another opportunity to comment on how the scheme is progressing and will allow any changes to be made if needed.
Six schools are taking part in the School Streets initiative. Three of the schools are moving to start road closures in the coming weeks. Further consultation and additional analysis of traffic patterns is to be carried out before any trial closures start at Wensum Junior School, Norwich and Nelson Infant School, Norwich.
Feedback from the consultation on trial road closures at St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Costessey has shown that road closures would likely not be the best option at this location. As this is a faith school many parents and carers opt to send their children to the school, so travel patterns are different from most local schools, and closures could make travel to other nearby schools more tricky. More work will be done at this location to find the best fit to improve safety and boost active travel.
Ahead of any road closures the team will be delivering permits to households near the schools to allow them access to their homes when the closures are in place.