Experimental one-week street closure to take place outside Longthorpe Primary School

13 March 2020

A one week school street closure is due to take place outside Longthorpe Primary School next week in a bid to increase safety for schoolchildren.

Peterborough City Council, working in partnership with the charity Sustrans and with funding from the Combined Authority, has delivered the Bike It+ initiative to city schools for a number of years, through its Travelchoice project. The project aims to get more young people walking, scooting and cycling to school, and therefore cutting down on the number of cars around the school gates.

As part of the project, a one-week school street closure will take place at Longthorpe Primary School next week. This will close the section of Bradwell Road around the school during drop-off and pick-up times from Monday, 16 March to Friday, 20 March, between the hours of 8-9am and again from 2.30pm to 3.45pm (Mon-Thur) and from 1.45pm to 3pm on Friday. The road will have restricted access for residents, staff and essential vehicles only.

There was a one day street closure outside of Ravensthorpe Primary in 2019 to coincide with the start of Sustrans’ National Big Pedal competition but this type of closure is a first for Peterborough and represents a serious effort to tackle the issues caused by the school run.

The need for a school street closure has come about because the school has struggled to improve what they know is a challenging situation. They have put up large banners asking drivers to be respectful when parking and pupils from the school council have handed out leaflets to highlight the dangers of inconsiderate and illegal parking.

The school received lots of positive comments from some parents who congratulated the children on taking a stand. The children felt empowered by taking action as well with pupils reporting that “It is great to feel like we are helping to keep people safe” and “We’ve seen a lot of people parking on the yellow zig zag line and we wanted to take action”. But the problem has continued and a need for greater action is now required.

Eric Schneider, Bike-it officer, said: “Councils around the country are finding excluding school run traffic from the roads directly outside schools can be a very effective way of tackling the growing concerns around air pollution and child safety at our schools. It is exciting to see that Peterborough is willing to try this bold initiative.” 

Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for education at Peterborough City Council, said: “Travelchoice has been successfully working to encourage sustainable, healthy and active forms of travel with schools, business and communities for a number of years. Congested traffic outside of the school gates creates a stressful and potentially unsafe environment for everyone.

"Trials of street restrictions and closures have proven very successful in other parts of the country and we hope that this trial will encourage parents to consider other forms of travel and their parking behaviours in the future”. 

To ensure the street closure has the greatest impact possible, Sustrans, Longthorpe Primary School and Travelchoice will be doing the following:

  • Issuing permits to allow residents of the closed roads to still access their properties
  • Having staff on site during each day of the closure to support the project, including parking enforcement officers from Peterborough City Council
  • Arrange a Walking Bus led by the school to give those parents that need to drive a viable alternative to parking outside of the school
  • Suggest options to allow pupils and parents to Park and Stride to the school instead 

The aim is to demonstrate that closing roads outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times is achievable, can accomplish more permanent changes in behaviour, and inspire more schools to try this approach.