COMMENT: Could this be a solution to school traffic pollution?

Over years there have been many attempts made to dissuade parents from driving their offspring to school when they could walk, cycle or take the bus.

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 6:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 6:22 pm

It seems simple, if less people drive, there’s less congestion, children and parents are healthier from the daily exercise.

But busy, stressed-out parents often don’t have the time to walk so drop-offs and pick-ups with the engine running continue. 

Schools have used shock tactics with huge posters on school gates of children lying in the road in place of yellow zig-zags  – which are being ignored. 

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Sometimes traffic wardens are dispatched to put parents off pulling up outside schools and parking dangerously. 

But now Friends of the Earth may have hit upon something that may actually work. 

Schools could be closed to traffic at the beginning and end of school days under the School Streets scheme which already operates in other parts of the UK and has been deemed a success. 

Although residents in the street will be allowed to come and go, other vehicles will not be allowed. 

It will mean a cut in congestion and a healthier way to get children to school. It may provide the nudge that parents need to ditch the cars. 

And now Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Suzy Horton, wants to trial it in the worst-hit areas of Southsea.

But there is no doubt other schools across the city will be keen to get involved. 

There may be arguments that School Streets will simply move the problem of parents and their cars on to other roads but at least the effect outside the school will be reduced. 

Funding for the closures will come from the Community Infrastructure Levy or the Sustainable Transport Bid that was recently awarded to Portsmouth.

This could be the solution to keeping children safe from traffic and pollution.