07 September 2020 20:35
AN OTLEY primary has become one of the latest schools to join a scheme aimed at boosting road safety. Street Schools is a pilot scheme by Leeds City Council which uses a temporary traffic regulation order to restrict traffic. Also intended to cut air pollution, it works by turning the roads outside schools into pedestrian and cyclist zones at the times displayed on signs during term time. Westgate Primary at Otley is one of eight schools that are now, from this week, joining the initiative. Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) said: "Following a request by Westgate Primary School's Headteacher I was very happy to support their desire to trial a School Street.
"This is effectively a one street - in this case Scarborough Road - scheme so no one at this stage is suggesting that this will change the world - but it is a start. "I personally hope it will grow into something much more than just about stopping pick up and drop offs at the school gate." Six Leeds schools launched the first phase of School Streets trials in June and all now intend to continue with the scheme. The initial feedback shows that the changes helped to make roads feel safer, improve air quality, encourage more walking, scooting and cycling to and from school, improve air quality, and reduce school-related congestion. The initiative supports a wider programme of work that is being carried out as part of the council's response to COVID-19. The authority's executive member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, Councillor Lisa Mulherin, said: "In June a group of six schools and their communities pioneered School Streets in Leeds. "Thanks to their successful initiative over the summer term and the learning from we're now adding another eight schools to pilot School Streets across the Leeds district. We would like to thank everyone involved in these pilots and wish them all continued success. "This is a child friendly initiative to make the journey to school safer and healthier for children and their families. "By creating a safer space for pupils to enjoy a less stressful, healthier journey by walking, cycling or scooting when they return to school we're also promoting the physical activity that we know has a long term benefit. Over the summer I was pleased to receive feedback from those schools taking part, and especially to hear about children with the confidence to walk home on their own with many more biking, scooting or walking to school." Emergency vehicles, local residents - through a permit scheme - and Blue Badge holders all continue to have full access to the roads included in the Street Schools scheme.