Parties as Jarrow School Streets Trial gets Underway
Two Jarrow primary schools are celebrating the start of a six-month trial of School Streets this week, as part of work by the charity Sustrans and South Tyneside Council to help create a safer, healthier environment outside the school gate.
Vehicles are now prohibited on the roads outside Simonside Primary School and St Mary's RC Primary School on school days at peak times from 18th September 2023 to 18 March 2024. The roads affected will include Glasgow Road, Ayr Drive, Arran Drive, and Crieff Grove between 8.00-9:15am and 2.30-4pm, Monday to Friday.
Children can arrive to school on foot, scooter, mobility aid (wheel) or bicycle.
Schools marked the start of the trial School Street with street parties, where children can play chalk games and enjoy a free breakfast. This included the chance to try out making their own drink on a pedal-powered smoothie bike.
The trial aims to reduce traffic around the schools, encourage more children to walk, wheel, scoot or cycle, and improve air quality.
Sustrans is the national charity which helps more people walk, wheel and cycle their journeys. It works with schools across the UK to help more children get active on the school run.
Donna Scott, Headteacher of Simonside Primary School said: "Today has been a great success. There was a really nice atmosphere and the children have had so much fun.
"This street is normally very busy in the morning with parents dropping off children at two schools and a nursery. There's also a food bank too. I usually spend every morning and evening at that gate with my heart in my mouth. There were some near misses with cars pulling up and driving off. The road wasn't wide enough for all the traffic and some parents still parked on the zig zag lines.
"Most of the parents have been very supportive of the School Street. Our children will now have a safe area to cross to school and won't have to dodge between parked cars. It will also make the street calmer for residents too. I'm really excited about the scheme, and I hope it will encourage other schools in South Tyneside to try a School Street too."
Ali Campion, Sustrans School Streets coordinator said: "I'm really excited to be celebrating the start of South Tyneside's School Streets programme. This is the first step to help more families choose healthier ways to travel and to create safer, healthier neighbourhoods for everyone.
"We know children want to walk, wheel, scoot or cycle to school, they just need a safer environment around the school gate.
"We'll be working with the school, families, and local residents to help more children try active travel modes, and to make this trial a success. We would like to hear from anyone who lives locally about how we could make it better. Please do send in your comments to the public consultation."
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "It's great to be introducing School Streets around Simonside and St Mary's, the first scheme of its kind in South Tyneside.
"It's all about encouraging active travel and creating a safer, healthier and happier environment for children and families on their journeys to and from school. The initiative will also reduce traffic congestion and in turn make air cleaner in the surrounding streets.
"We hope this will make a real difference. We will be working closely with our partners at Sustrans to monitor the scheme and will be encouraging feedback throughout the trial period."
Sustrans schools officers will be working with the schools over the next few months to help children build confidence in walking, using a mobility aid, scooter or bicycle to travel to school.
Families who have further to travel are able to drive and 'park and stride' from parking on the Scotch Estate and at Perth Green Community Association.
Signage will be in place advising residents of the restrictions to vehicles.
However, residents, Blue Badge holders, teachers and those who have legitimate reasons will be allowed vehicular access to the streets.
There is a public consultation on the trial road closures at Simonside Primary School and St Mary's RC Primary School from 18th September until 18th March 2024.
For more information and to have your say visit:School Streets Closures - South Tyneside Council