A pair of Exeter primary schools have started the new academic year by restricting traffic outside their gates during drop-off and pick-up times.
The permanent changes at Ladysmith Federation, in Pretoria Road, and Whipton Barton Federation, in Hill Lane, have been trialled over the last year.
They found that limiting motor vehicle access outside their entrances at the start and end of the school day reduced congestion and pollution.
This, in turn, created a ‘calmer, safer and more pleasant environment’ and allows children to travel to and from school in ‘more active’ ways.
Devon County Council (DCC) is making the ‘School Streets’ measures permanent following positive feedback from parents, school staff and local residents earlier this year.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: “School Streets is a fairly straightforward way of encouraging people to walk and cycle, and these pioneering schools have shown over the past year that it works.
“These schemes are helping to tackle congestion and reduce carbon emissions outside of the schools and the pupils and their parents are improving their health and wellbeing at the same time.”
Cllr Su Aves who represents the St Sidwells and St James ward, added: “I began the conversation with the Ladysmith Schools’ headteachers, the police, residents and highways officers back in 2018 about the safety of children travelling to school.
“The traffic has always been very congested at drop off and pick-up times.
“The anxiety of this led to unsafe driving and some vehicles stopping in inappropriate places putting children at risk when crossing the road.
“I am so pleased that the school street is being made permanent. This change is popular with parents, residents and staff at the schools, as many have told me when I have visited the school.
“The atmosphere in Pretoria Road has completely changed for the better.
“It has been wonderful to see the safe and calm arrival of children at school which is so important. I hope more families will now enjoy walking or cycling to school and leave their car at home. I also hope that those that do need to drive will now leave enough time to park a distance from the school and walk in calmly.”
Heavitree and Whipton Barton councillor Danny Barnes said: “The trial of the School Streets scheme has delivered some excellent results to promote active travel and improve the local environment, and I’m pleased that our local community has given it such positive support.”