Bedford Borough Council have announced plans to introduce a pilot of their School Street initiative around Cauldwell School in March 2021. The project will create a safer, more pleasant environment in the area around the school and help to improve air quality.
The School Street initiative will introduce a pedestrian, cycle and scooter only zone at the start and end of the school day, during term time only.
School Streets have been introduced all over the country since 2015, with the Department for Transport encouraging their use during the Covid-19 pandemic to support active travel and social distancing.
The Council has started the initial engagement process by liaising with the school and seeking the views of parents of children attending Peter Pan Nursery School and residents on Edward Road.
These groups will give feedback on the project before, during and after the pilot scheme at Cauldwell School. Bedford Borough Council will monitor the effects of the scheme from March 2021 until the end of the school year, when they will consider implementing School Street projects in other areas if the pilot is successful.
The School Street area will be outlined by using barriers and support from school and council staff. The Council have confirmed that they will not be issuing fines through the scheme, as they would like it to be a community initiative, with the ultimate aim of transforming the experience of the school run for children and parents.
Councillor Charles Royden, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “The School Street scheme will enable more children to travel actively to school. There are many benefits to this, including increased levels of energy for learning, more safe space for children and parents to use outside the school and an improvement in air quality.
“This is all part of the Council’s commitment to implement active travel plans and sustainable transport initiatives across Bedford Borough.”
Residents of Edward Road and blue badge holders will still be able to access the streets when the scheme is in action. Parents who have children at the school will be encouraged to walk, cycle or scoot instead of driving.