School streets initiative
Many schools across Swindon experience a number of traffic related issues at the beginning and end of each school day. The School Streets initiative aims to create traffic free roads outside schools to provide families with the space they need to get to school safely. The aim is that this will encourage more children to walk, cycle or scoot to school which in turn, will help to reduce congestion and pollution in the area.
The benefits of the scheme include:
- an increase in walking and cycling and active lifestyles for pupils, parents and carers
- a reduction in traffic speed, congestion and pollution around the school gates which will aid children and parents when accessing school
- improvements in levels of childhood obesity
- a tool to allow the Council to proactively respond to parking related concerns raised by parents and residents
School street trial
It has been agreed to trial one School Street in 2020/21. This will allow us to assess what works and what doesn't work, and to gather information and analyse data in order to determine how and where other schools and communities might benefit from such a scheme.
The trial site being considered is Staldon Road, outside East Wichel Primary School. It has been selected as part of our School Safe Environment Zone (SSEZ) programme where we have identified 15 schools to work with during the financial year 2020/2021, to improve road safety and congestion issues around these schools.
Each school has a unique set of characteristics and the introduction of engineering and/or behaviour change initiatives is determined based on their own merits. East Wichel Primary School has been identified as a suitable site for the trial of a School Street due to the layout of the road, the small number of residents affected and the current parking and speed restrictions already in place.
How the trial will work
Motorised traffic will be prohibited from entering the street during the time periods specified on the traffic signs. Signs will be placed at each end of the School Street.
Residents on the street affected will need to display a valid permit in their vehicle to allow them to drive through a zone during the restricted times. Wiltshire Police have powers to enforce the restrictions so anyone caught driving through a restricted zone whilst the restriction is in force, without a valid permit or exemption, can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.
The trial School Street will be introduced using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) that will be in place for up to 18 months. The nature of an experimental order allows formal consultation to be undertaken during the initial 6 months. This gives residents and the wider community the opportunity to experience the benefits and identify any problems with the proposals, whilst retaining the right to object or make representations once the scheme has been implemented. At the end of this period, the project is evaluated, and a decision made as to whether the scheme should be made permanent or not.
An informal consultation has been undertaken in advance of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order being implemented.
Impact on those using the trial street
We have worked to ensure this has a positive impact on local residents, parents and commuters.
Parents and carers
The street outside the school will be restricted to traffic during specified times at the beginning and end of the school day. Only vehicles with a special permit will be permitted access. Pupils, parents and carers will experience a safer environment for walking and cycling to school as it will encourage more parents and carers of children to leave their cars at home and walk to school.
If you still need to drive to school, we ask that you park a short distance away and walk the rest of your journey. Signs are located at the entrance of all affected streets.
Residents of the street affected will need to display a valid permit to enter a School Street between the times that the restriction is in force. Vehicles providing essential health and care support including the delivery of goods and services are exempt from the restriction.
Further details on the restriction and times they apply is available on the School Streets permit information page.
Please note: permits will only be issued to residents living within the street directly affected by the restriction.
Blue Badge holders
Blue badge holders residing at, or visiting properties within the restricted roads, will be exempt from the School Streets restrictions.