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School Streets initiative launch in Reading

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TTC helps Reading Borough Council launch School Streets initiative

Any parent of school age children will want their child to be fit, healthy, physically active and breathing quality clean air. Reading Borough Council (RBC) is no different and like many local authorities, has recently introduced School Streets to its Borough giving children the chance to walk, cycle or scoot to School safely in the street outside the School without danger from traffic with the help of road safety training company TTC.

Lucy Prismall, Transport Planner and lead on Reading’s School Streets Programme said: “School Streets is a worthwhile initiative bringing real tangible benefits to school children, parents and local residents. Temporarily closing streets outside Schools to traffic at drop-off and pick up times completely alters the street space, helping to lower congestion by encouraging people to change their travel behaviours, improve air quality, improve safety and leads to improved mental and physical health for children/parents/carers as well as the local community.”

“School Streets temporarily closes the road outside the School for up to 45 minutes, twice a day, during School term time only, with only eligible vehicles gaining access to the road during the closure, such as residents and visitors to properties. The closure point is supervised by professionally trained marshals throughout the closure period.”

“The initiative is new to Reading with our first trial having commenced in April, and two further School Street trials have opened in June. We recognise the safety of the children and other users in the street is paramount and this is the responsibility of the schools, especially the marshals, who are all volunteers as they are responsible for ensuring the roads are closed safely in accordance with the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. We engaged with TTC to create an engaging workshop for the marshals so they are fully prepared for the role.”

Andy Wheeler, Head of Technical Delivery at TTC (pictured) said: “We were delighted to be approached by RBC to support this initiative as it supports our ethos of ‘Protecting People on the Move’. Everyone involved has enjoyed working on the project as we can all appreciate the benefits. We worked closely with RBC throughout the whole project from understanding their requirements, the foundations of the scheme, the role of the marshal and the legal backbone to the scheme.”

“We quickly identified that marshals had to have a solid understanding of the scheme, how to implement the closure, how to deal with motorists and handle confrontation from drivers not happy about being unable to access the street.”

Andy Wheeler Profile

Lucy continued: “Every school has to meet a strict criteria to become eligible for this scheme and undertake an informal consultation with local residents and businesses prior to submitting an application. Further engagement is carried out prior to implementation of a trial.”

“The real benefit of course is that the children and adults using the street during these closures really appreciate the improved safety and environment. We have had a number of Reading schools apply and we expect to have more school streets rolled out across the Borough, providing a safe environment to thousands of school children. All in all we feel that the service provided by TTC and the end result has been invaluable, since it has helped us work towards achieving our wider objective of increasing active travel in Reading.”

Andy concluded: “We have been pleased with how this project has gone and of course the increased use of Zoom over the last year has enabled us to design a course specially for delivery via Zoom. The content is engaging, highly visual, informative and concludes with a competency assessment to ensure learning has taken place. We expect to be busy delivering these important workshops to schools and other local authorities throughout the UK in the coming months ahead.”

To find out more about Reading Borough Council’s School Streets programme, please visit the Council’s website.

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