Council launches phase two of safer school streets scheme
In an effort to make the streets surrounding local schools safer for children and parents to walk and cycle, Birmingham City Council has launched phase two of its Car Free School Streets initiative.
Coinciding with Bike to School week, the initiative will see six Birmingham schools close their surrounding streets to motor traffic at the beginning and end of the school day. The aim is to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality at the school gates, and make it easier and safer for children to get to and from school.
The scheme launched its initial pilot in September 2019, with six local primary schools. Six more schools are joining the pilot from this September: Anderton Park Primary School (Moseley), Hillstone Primary School (Shard End), Holy Cross Catholic Primary School (Sutton Walmley & Minworth), Somerville Primary School (Small Heath), Woodthorpe Junior & Infant School (Brandwood & Kings Heath) and Wyndcliffe Primary School (Bordesley Green).
Residents living on the streets affected have been issued with permits to access their properties. There are also exemptions for blue badge holders, health visitors and emergency services. Anyone else driving in the restricted zone at these times can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice charge of £50.
Initial feedback from the initial pilot was extremely positive, with over 80% of residents saying they wanted it to continue.
Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE said: “Streets surrounding schools are places where we should be putting children and families first. We want people to feel safer and healthier during school drop-off and pick-up times and encourage more children and their parents to walk and cycle to school when possible.
“The Car Free School Streets pilot we did in 2019 proved incredibly popular, not only with children and their parents but with teachers and the wider community too. I’m delighted to be rolling-out the pilot to six more schools, which will bring health and environmental benefits to more local communities in Birmingham.”
The council are looking at ways of extending the Car Free School Streets initiative to even more schools in Birmingham, including as part of its Places for People programme and through temporary road closures outside schools as part of the Emergency Birmingham Transport Plan.
This initiative is delivered alongside the Modeshift STARS scheme, which provides all schools with a range of activities and initiatives to support safer, greener and healthier travel.