Agenda item

Review the implementation of School Streets

The Environment and Climate Action Scrutiny Panel are asked to note the report of officers reviewing the implementation of School Streets.


Richard Eason, Healthy Streets Programme Director introduced some of the key points in the report, which reviewed the implementation of School Streets.


In response, members commented as follows:


1. Cllr Laban asked if a safety assessment had been completed, looking into the impact of moving from a volunteer-based scheme to using AMPR cameras. Officers responded that most schools had initially used marshals, and one still did, but that this was not sustainable for the majority of them, thus they had to adapt to use AMPR cameras. Whilst this was perhaps not as safe as having a physical barrier on the site, it still proved effective at reducing traffic and was far safer than having the School Streets scheme rescinded at these various locations.

2. Cllr Laban queried specifically about Worcester’s School, citing that residents around the area felt they had been somewhat cut off by the School Street there; the Cllr questioned what engagement had taken place with residents, and how the diversions put in place matched with the Council’s air quality objectives. Officers replied that the scheme had been met with broad support; they accepted the programme had posed some issues for a minority of residents but stressed that there was always some alternative means of access. It was pointed out that while the scheme initially imposed set blanket times; schools had now reduced these to make them more specific/ targeted, thus alleviating some of the inconvenience. Officers reiterated that each location has its own challenges and the scheme, like any other, was a balancing act between trying to extrapolate the maximum benefit whilst also aiming to reduce the inconvenience to residents. It was stressed that feedback was always monitored, and modifications could be made.

3. Cllr Yuruk asked whether Prince of Wales Primary School would be included in the scheme. Officers responded that the school was part of the STARS programme, and an expression of interest had been received, thus they met the criteria, and would be considered as a candidate in future rounds.

4. Cllr Alexandrou queried whether inset days were considered by the School Streets programme; if Wren Academy had applied; and whether more advanced signage could be placed by the School Street located off Cannon Hill. Officers replied that signage on Cannon Hill would be investigated. ACTION for Richard Eason. They explained that typically School Streets covered term time, as inset days were difficult to take account of, because each school does them differently; they emphasised that schools individually managed when the scheme was in operation. They confirmed Wren Academy was a part of the STARS scheme and had expressed interest in becoming a School Street, but that challenges such as it being situated on a bus route to the hospital, meant that alternatives, like improvements to pedestrian crossings, may have to be considered instead.

5. Cllr Stevens asked about the problems with the rollout at Hazelwood School and queried what lessons had been learned for the future. Officers apologised for the issues, assured members that communication had been improved and that these problems were being rectified. They explained the rollout had not gone smoothly due to a variety of factors, but that they had put systems in place to ensure this would not be repeated in the future. They said the scheme would go live at the end of the month, with residents having been made aware of this, and that permit applications were now open and ongoing.

6. Cllr Stevens queried whether at School Streets where it was more difficult to maintain volunteers/marshals, if at least the left-hand lane of the roads could be blocked with barriers. Officers responded that it may be possible in some locations, and was something they could try to encourage, but that they could not enforce it.

7. Cllr Dalkaya asked if where potential School Street locations fell on bus routes, whether bus gates could be used. Officers replied that it may be possible in some quieter locations, but would be more challenging in others, i.e., on principal road networks, as closing them in rush hour would have a huge impact. Ark John Keeps School was mentioned as an example that could be investigated. It was also noted that where School Streets were not possible, alternative interventions, would be looked at, like reducing speed limits.

8. Cllr Laban asked for data regarding the percentage of children that walked and or cycled to schools as opposed to other means of transport. Officers advised that schools collected this data as part of the STARS programme, and that this data was not to hand, but could be followed up with. They added that even in instances where cars were being used in the school run, parents were parking further away, thus the concentration of emissions at schools were being dispersed further away.

9. Cllr Stevens queried whether an update on the Quieter Neighbourhoods scheme was available to which Officers responded this was still a work in progress.

10. The Chair asked how Raglan School Street would be implemented given the difficulties of the site. Officers explained that this location did present some challenges but that there were always things they could look at doing; the difficulty they said often came in balancing what schools wanted to see and what is practical.

11. Cllr Fallart asked if a 20mph zone around the aforementioned site could be considered as an alternative, to which Officers explained that it was one intervention they were considering at locations where School Streets were not workable.

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