East Riding of Yorkshire Council is to carry out a trial of an initiative called School Streets at both Airmyn Park Primary School and Hook CE Primary School later in the autumn term.
School Streets is a pioneering approach to improving the environment outside schools whereby traffic is restricted at the start and the end of the school day.
By encouraging parents and carers to ‘park and stride’ – parking away from the school and then walking or cycling the rest of the way – this helps to reduce congestion, discourage unnecessary car journeys and improve the air quality outside the school gates.
The introduction of School Streets is aimed at encouraging a move towards more sustainable and active modes of travel, making it easier and safer for pupils to walk or cycle to school, and creating a more pleasant environment in those areas.
School Streets could also help parents and pupils to socially distance during the coronavirus pandemic, by creating additional space for them to travel safely to and from school on foot, by scooter or bike.
The council is working in partnership with both primary schools to introduce the pilot from the beginning of November.
Councillor Gary McMaster, the council’s portfolio holder for enhancing communities said: “School children's safety and wellbeing is obviously of paramount importance and any initiative like School Streets that helps to address this, will be warmly received.
“Following a successful pilot of the scheme, we hope to be working with other schools elsewhere within the East Riding to roll out the project further. The School Streets scheme, while not a new concept nationally, is new to the East Riding and has seen huge successes across the country.”
Both Percy Drive in Airmyn and Garth Lane in Hook – the roads outside both schools - will be covered by the new motor vehicle restriction, which will only be enforced during drop off and pick up times in the mornings and afternoons.
Residents and any businesses located on the effected streets will have the opportunity to apply for an exemption permit which will allow access to the School Streets zone during the restricted times. In addition, there will also be a list of exempted vehicles which may enter the zone during the restriction.
Multiple ‘Park and Stride’ venues have been agreed within both locations to offer parents and carers that need to drive to school a designated and suitable alternative location to park. These sites all fall within each school’s five minute walking bubble.
Hook CE Primary School headteacher Caroline Ainley said: “Hook CE Primary is delighted to have been considered to pilot this project for the East Riding.
“The location of our school at the end of a cul-de-sac means that traffic has to turn around outside our school gate making it very difficult for children and their families.
“We believe School Streets will offer families the confidence to know that their children can choose alternative ways to travel to school knowing that there will be significantly reduced traffic on the road outside.”
Airmyn Park Primary School headteacher Heidi Whyley said: “To achieve safer streets around our school at drop off and pick up times in the day would be a dream come true for our children.
“It would also be one of the most responsible actions I would be proud to say our East Riding team, staff, parents and local community had accomplished. A long awaited opportunity received with gratitude.”
Parents and carers at both schools will be given more information before the start of the scheme, as will residents and businesses in the restricted areas.
A newly dedicated webpage offering further information and advice about the scheme is due to go live at the beginning of October.