Pupils returning to school in Calderdale have seen the roads around some of their schools transformed into safer spaces – supporting active travel, such as walking and cycling.
After a successful trial period at schools earlier this year, Calderdale Council has introduced School Streets(external link) at nine schools in the borough. This means that the roads around the schools are only open to pedestrians and other non-motorised vehicles during term-time at the school’s opening and closing times.
Feedback from parents and staff from the schools taking part in the July trial was overwhelmingly positive. Around 70% of respondents to a Council survey on the scheme indicated that they would like the scheme to be installed permanently.
Responses to the survey also highlighted the road safety benefits of the temporary road closures and how the changes better enabled social distancing, supporting COVID safety measures. Everyone, including those travelling to and from school, is urged to keep a safe two-metre distance from other people, to protect each other and help reduce the spread of the virus.
The School Streets scheme also supports the Council’s ongoing work to tackle the climate emergency, improve air quality and become the most active borough in the North by 2024 through the Active Calderdale movement.
School Streets have been introduced this week at the following schools/colleges:
- Abbey Park Junior and Infant School, Illingworth
- St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Boothtown
- Longroyde Primary School, Rastrick,
- Withinfields Primary School, Southowram
- St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Halifax
- Holy Trinity Primary School, Halifax
- St Malachy’s Catholic Primary School, Halifax
- Northowram Primary School, Northowram
Calderdale College, Halifax
A full list of the roads affected is available at https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/transport-and-streets/transport-improvements-and-initiatives/school-streets
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:
“Safer school streets bring so many benefits, including encouraging a healthier lifestyle by supporting active travel and improving air quality by reducing vehicle idling and pollution levels.
“Although our ambition to transform the streets around schools began before COVID-19, the scheme also complements the Council’s wider COVID safety measures by making it easier to socially distance.
“Feedback from our trials showed that the scheme also made drop off and pick up times feel more relaxed. We hope that this calmer feel to the start and end of the school day will contribute to easing any anxiety which pupils may feel about returning after the long summer break.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to use the learning experience from our trials to introduce these measures at a number of schools across the borough and at Calderdale College. We hope to roll the scheme out to more schools in the near future.”
Access will be maintained for emergency and utility vehicles at all times. Residents needing to access the road during the closure times will need to apply for a School Street permit. These can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Blue Badge holders do not have to apply for a permit and can access School Streets at any time.