Leeds Council introduces 'School Streets' pilot

The Leeds School Streets pilot scheme has launched, with up to six Leeds primary schools taking part.

Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School, Pudsey; Ingram Road Primary School, Holbeck; Cross Gates Primary School, Cross Gates; Thorpe Primary School, Thorpe; Clapgate Primary, Middleton; and Lane End Primary, Beeston are the first schools to take part in the pilot scheme, beginning on 1 June - the date that schools across the country can begin reopening for certain groups of students.

School Streets make roads outside schools into pedestrian and cyclist only zones at the times displayed on the signs and only during term time. This helps to reduce air pollution and keep children safe from traffic.

The pilot scheme in Leeds will use a temporary traffic regulation order, restricting traffic to help with phased and staggered returns for those children who are going back to school. Residents living within the new school street zones have been issued with permits so that they can continue to enter and leave the zone freely. Blue Badge-holders and emergency vehicles will also have full access.

Additionally, Leeds City Council is taking emergency action to help people of all ages have space to walk and cycle safely. An online consultation launched on 15 May, has already seen more than 16,000 contributions from people with places to widen pavements, install temporary cycle lanes, create quieter residential streets and make more space outside schools.

Lisa Mulherin, executive member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the thousands of responses to our Connecting Leeds Covid-19 active travel consultation. Please continue to send in your suggestions. Every contribution counts to improve air quality, support more cycling and walking space for active travel and helps to maintain social distancing.

“As part of these plans we’re delighted to launch our School Streets pilots. This is a child friendly initiative, to make the journey to school safer and healthier for Leeds children and their families. By creating a safer space for pupils to enjoy a less stressful, healthier journey by walking, cycling or scooting when they return to school we’re also promoting the physical activity that we know has a long term benefit for physical and mental health.

“I would like to thank this first group of schools and their communities for pioneering School Streets in Leeds. I look forward to seeing how they do over the summer term and what we might learn as a city, to inform a roll out of the scheme to other schools in future.”