Bosses are proposing to introduce safety schemes outside eight Oldham primary schools which will see some roads around them closed to pupil drop-offs.
Oldham Council says it is looking to introduce measures to make roads safer and ‘healthier’ around educational establishments in the borough, as well as tackling issues such as idling cars.
The ‘School Streets’ initiative, which has been backed by Dame Sarah Storey, aims to reduce air pollution, congestion, problem parking and to enable pupils to walk, cycle or ‘scoot’ to school instead of arriving in a car.
With the ‘full support’ of the schools involved, it will see certain roads around them closed to all traffic during term-time hours when pupils are arriving and leaving. The council says that only people with a permit, including residents and businesses, will be able to get access. However, the restriction won’t apply to emergency vehicles, blue badge holders or essential deliveries.
People dropping off or picking up pupils will not be able to drive into these specific streets, but will still be able to park further away from school if they need to, and walk the last part of the journey, bosses say. Signage, one-way systems, parking restrictions, bollards, road humps and changes to corners and gullies will be used at the various sites to enforce the scheme.
It is being funded by nearly £85,000 from Transport for Greater Manchester and the Department for Transport.
Council leader Amanda Chadderton said: “Traffic congestion and problem parking are issues at schools across the country, not just in Oldham. On top of that, idling vehicles pollute the air that our young people breathe.
“School Streets help to reduce parking issues, queuing traffic, and air quality issues at the school gates, while improving road safety for children and their families. Our aim is to also encourage active travel – getting people into the routine of walking and cycling from a young age will stay with them for years.”
The schemes will be introduced around eight schools: St Edward’s and Hey with Zion in Lees, St Anne’s in Royton, Northmoor Academy in Coldhurst, Christ Church in Chadderton. Corpus Christi in Chadderton – where the measures will also assist with Stanley Road Primary – and St Luke’s in Chadderton.
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “I am delighted to see the commitment from Oldham Council in bringing School Streets to sites across the borough.
“The safety and health of children is of paramount importance and the facilities provided by a School Street also benefit residents who live near schools too.
“Whether it’s to reduce the danger from poorly parked vehicles outside the school gates, reduce the number of idling engines polluting the air or to ensure the safety of children crossing roads with less vehicle traffic, there are few arguments against installing these in more locations and so I hope to see the success of these trials lead to more schools and residents near the schools asking for similar in their neighbourhood.”
The council says the schemes have been drawn up following consultation with the schools, and residents and businesses close to the sites have been informed by letter about the details of the schemes.
An ‘experimental traffic regulation order’ will be put in place for the new measures and the authority says there will be opportunities ‘over the coming months’ for local residents, businesses, parents and the schools to give their feedback on the schemes.