Children to be ‘design chiefs’ for school streets

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Children in West Derby, Liverpool will be the chief designers for Sustrans’ pioneering new project to make streets around schools safer for walking or cycling.

Credit: Denis Oates Photography

Sustrans is working with children, parents and local residents in nine schools with high levels of traffic congestion, air pollution and road safety accidents.

The two-mile area includes Blackmoor Park Infant school, where six-year-old Bobby Colleran was knocked over and killed in October 2014, when walking home from school.

Children are surveying the streets outside their schools for problems such as dangerous junctions and crossing points, pavement parking, noise levels and air quality, and what they would like to change.

Four schools will bid for funds to create design changes on their streets. These will include redesigning a dangerous junction, installing a pedestrian crossing, restricting car parking or closing school streets at peak times.

The Sustrans team will also look at how schools can link with existing walking and cycling routes, including the nearby Liverpool Loop Line, to make it easier for children to travel by foot or bicycle.

Lou Henderson, their project officer in Liverpool said: “This is the first time in Liverpool that school children have the chance to work with our team and co-design the streets they walk or cycle on to school.

“Our team will be holding activities and workshops with schools and local residents to find out the day-today problems people face when travelling to school.

“We will work together at every stage to make our school streets safer and healthier places for everyone.”

Jo Colleran at the Bobby Colleran Trust said: “I am very shocked and saddened to see what is still happening outside these schools every day and to see the dangers that parents are causing for our children.

“I lost my son five years ago and cannot understand why people have still not learnt from his accident and haven’t changed their behaviour outside schools.

“The Sustrans project is a great way of getting the children to voice their own safety concerns and, hopefully, to make changes on these very busy roads.“

Joanne Starkey, Headteacher at St Paul and St Timothy’s Catholic Infant School said: “Every morning at school drop-off time and at afternoon pick-up time the road outside the school is completely congested. Children have to pick their way through the cars to cross the road with their parents or carers.

Children to be ‘design chiefs’ for school streets

Children have to pick their way through the cars to cross the road with their parents or carers. Credit: Denis Oates Photography

“There are cars parked on the zig-zag lines, on the pavement and across the entrance to the school. Local residents have their driveways blocked and traffic comes to a standstill.

“Car engines are idling, producing increased pollution that our young children have to walk through to enter school.

“Last year we established our first Eco Council and Sustrans are working with the children to identify the areas they would like to improve to make their route to school safer to walk or cycle.”

Sustrans owns and manages the Liverpool Loop Line, which is an 11-mile walking and cycling path between Halewood and Aintree.

The route passes through West Derby and is part of the National Cycle Network. It is also part of the Trans Pennine Trail long-distance path.

The West Derby schools project is funded thanks to a £200,000 grant from the Freshfield Foundation. It is part of Sustrans’ work with Liverpool City Council, Liverpool City Region and Merseytravel to make it easier for more people to walk and cycle.

Schools in the Project are:

  • Holly Lodge College for Girls
  • Broughton Hall Catholic High School
  • Blackmoor Park Infant School
  • Blackmoor Park Junior School
  • Mab Lane Mixed Primary School
  • St Paul and St Timothy Catholic Infant School
  • St Paul Catholic Junior School
  • Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School for Boys
  • St Mary’s CE Primary School

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