A SCHEME which prevents cars driving past schools and promotes road safety has been rolled out permanently in Solihull – with the possibility of expansion.
The ‘innovative’ pilot scheme was introduced outside three Solihull schools to help tackle traffic and encourage healthy travel, the council says.
In response to concerns about accidents and congestion during the school run, the Solihull ‘School Streets’ scheme was introduced in September 2017.
It has restricted access on roads leading to the three schools at the start and end of the school day.
It also saw the introduction of 20mph zones at all times on those roads, with permits issued for those living in the roads to exempt them from the scheme.
The council says it is the first of its kind in England.
The scheme has been trialled outside Haslucks Green Junior School in Shirley, Marston Green Infant Academy on Elm Farm Avenue and Oak Cottage Primary School on Greswolde Road.
Cabinet member for transport and highways Councillor Richards said: “Restricting roads entirely at certain times of the day may sound pretty extreme but actually what our pilot has shown is that, when managed properly, these closures can really benefit the local community and encourage active travel to school.
“I know both parents and residents alike share our aims of addressing traffic issues around the school run and recognise the benefit this scheme is having.
“The pilot has helped create a safer, more pleasant environment which encourages active travel to school, while reducing congestion and improving air quality.
“People have generally responded well to the changes.
“Where specific issues have been raised, we will continue to work with those affected on a case by case basis to see what assistance we can provide.
“Overall the scheme has brought real benefits and has made positive changes in travel behaviour and traffic management associated with the school run.”
The council will continue to monitor the performance of the ‘school streets’ project and will be investigating opportunities to expand the scheme at additional locations to coincide with the start of the next academic year.
Other potential locations include: St James, Dickens Heath Primary, St Andrews Primary, Burman Infant School, Yorkswood Primary, Castle Bromwich Junior School, Tudor Grange Primary Academy, Yew Tree Primary, Marston Green Junior School.
Green Party councillor Tim Hodgson said: “This is good news – Haslucks Green has been a success story in Shirley West and with three more schemes in the pipeline for Shirley South and West I’m very pleased.”