Consultation has started on a pilot scheme to ban cars from outside school gates in Edinburgh in a bid to improve road safety and increase walking and cycling.
Streets surrounding 11 schools could become pedestrian and cycle zones during school opening and closing times, double the original five pilot schools proposed, due to popular demand.
In total 31 schools expressed an interest in taking part in the “school streets” scheme following concerns over safety around some schools, with too many cars near the school gates.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh Transport Convener, said: “There’s a huge appetite out there for this initiative and our next task is to finalise the details of how the schemes might work. We’re looking for as much feedback as possible from people in each of the 11 school communities, including local residents. Please have your say in our online consultation or pop along to one of the many drop-in sessions we’ve got planned early in the New Year.”
The council says the benefit of school streets, which could operate for 30-45 minutes either side of opening and closing times, include increasing walking and cycling among both kids, parents and carers, and reducing traffic volume, congestion and pollution around school gates.
Spokes, Edinburgh’s cycle campaign, praises the move, which it says was like a Christmas present for the schools involved, and it encourages people to support the proposals by responding to the consultation.
Edinburgh is making huge strides in road safety with a number of new cycle routes in the offing and results of a city-wide 20mph speed limit consultation expected soon.
The city council originally committed to pilot school streets at up to five schools as part of its Local Transport Strategy 2014-19, whose aims include getting more people out of their cars and onto bikes foot and public transport for more journeys.
The consultation runs until Friday 27 February 2015 and the city is holding a number of drop-in sessions in January and February to discuss the plans. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.