The Vale of Glamorgan council launched its first timed school street closure at Fairfield Primary school in Penarth earlier this month.
Working in partnership with the school and its Healthy Living Partner, Sustrans, the Council launched the Vale’s first school street closure on 9 May as part of the ‘School Street’ pilot initiative to provide a traffic-free, safe environment for pupils to access and exit the school premises.
With Fairfield Primary on Dryden Road as the focus point for the pilot, the Council received funding from the Welsh Government Safe Routes in Communities (SRiC) fund to create a community-led street design project to encourage and facilitate active travel to and from school.
The launch also coincided with this year’s National Walk to School Week which many schools across the Vale took part in. Walk to School Week encourages children to travel actively to school every day, and Fairfield Primary students were able to safely take part due to the new road closure.
Since the launch, parents and pupils have been given the opportunity to choose alternative methods of travel, such as walking or cycling, which has received an overwhelmingly positive response from Fairfield staff, pupils, and parents, as well as wider communities in the Vale.
Sian Lewis, Headteacher at Fairfield Primary School, said: “We are thrilled with the implementation of Fairfield School Street.
“We now have a much safer and healthier environment at the beginning and end of the school day, with the new layout and rain gardens hugely improving the local area.
“It has been rewarding to work with the community, Sustrans and the local authority to ensure the completion of this project.”
Promoting active travel is an essential part of the Council’s Well-being plan to commit to creating a more active and healthier Vale. The ‘School Street’ initiative allows school children to safely choose active travel options like walking and cycling.
Dryden Road will continue timed road closures during school drop off and pick-up times over the next 18 months, where its success will continue to be monitored.
Cllr Mark Wilson, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood and Building Services, said: “The Council has already received such a positive response from the launch of the Vale’s very first ‘School Street’ closure, which is a testament to the hard work employed by the Council’s Active Travel Team, Sustrans, Fairfield Primary School, and the local community who helped make the Dryden Road pilot scheme possible.
“It is so encouraging to see so many pupils and parents excited to walk and cycle to school and guaranteeing their safety with a timed road closure is an important step in achieving our Well-being goals for a healthier Vale.
“If Dryden Road continues to be a success, we hope to be able to roll-out similar schemes to schools across the Vale in the future, providing more school children a safe opportunity to make more active and greener travel choices.”
The Council has been awarded additional SRiC funding this financial year to assess to complete a feasibility report on school street closures across the Vale with the intention to implement further ‘School Streets’ in the next financial year.