"We want to make driving to school an exception not the norm" - ten Sheffield schools consider plan
Ten Sheffield schools are trialing a scheme to limit traffic on roads outside schools and it could become permanent.
Greystones Primary School piloted a plan to block traffic on the road outside its school for one day last November, and will be trialing it again in September when schools reopen, with the hope of making a permanent change.
The School Street plan aims to reduce congestion at the school gates by encouraging parents to walk their children to school or, for those who live further away, to drop their children off further from the school gates.
Other schools involved in the plan are: Carfield, Porter Croft, Nether Edge, Anns Grove, Bradway, Silverdale, Pipworth, Hunters Bar I & J, and Pye Bank.
Ecclesall Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, who has been involved with consultation at Greystones, said: “We have been out doorknocking to make people aware of the plan and to give them an opportunity to express their opinions. We are doing things with people rather than doing things to people.
“There has been some concern that blocking off a road will displace traffic. Others are interested in seeing the impact of this and if it will change habits of trying to park outside the school.
“We want to encourage parents to park 100 yards or so away instead of blocking up traffic on the road outside the school, which is bad for the environment and school safety. Those who live near the school should walk.”
Parents parking directly outside the gates increases pollution as the cars are stationary for longer and the exhaust fumes are concentrated in a small area which children pass through daily.
Government findings show that transport is the biggest cause of air pollution, said to contribute to 500 deaths in Sheffield each year.
The scheme is expected to cost £300,000 which will be funded through a corporate resource pool. The money will be used to pay for signage, parking restrictions, one-way systems, the widening of footpaths, and coloured tarmac.
Coun Mohammed added: “We have to work with residents. We can’t just block the road off and not allow residents in and out.
“Residents can amend travel plans or we will facilitate access.
“Our aim is to remove travel by car as much as possible. But what might work for one area may not work for another.
“It is a not going to be a one sized fits all policy - some schools are very local, others the students travel much further because of catchment areas.
“But we want to make driving to school an exception not the norm.”
Chris Jennings, head teacher of Greystones School said: “We are really excited to be part of this pioneering approach to transforming road safety and air quality outside schools. I strongly believe that we should do all that we can to reduce congestion, improve air quality at the school gates and make the journey to and from school safer and more active.
“We have worked closely with local residents, who are supportive and have been brilliant and will still have access to the road at all times through a permit system. However, it will be closed to all other traffic.
“Parents are completely supportive and closely involved; we have many parent volunteers to act as marshals at the start and end of the school day.”