Young people attending Dalry Primary School in Edinburgh are set to benefit from safer streets and improved air quality after a successful application for support from Sustrans Scotland’s Temporary School Streets Fund.
Schoolchildren shared their ideas for the project with parents, carers and local residents. Credit: City of Edinburgh Council
With support from Sustrans, the City of Edinburgh Council will transform two side streets of Dalry Primary School, making pupil entrances on Springwell Place and Cathcart Place safer and more accessible for pupils.
The council will receive £46,000 from Sustrans’ Temporary School Streets Fund to widen the footpath outside the school and reduce vehicle traffic in the immediate area surrounding the school.
Eilish MacKay, a P7 (Year 6) pupil at Dalry Primary School, shared her thoughts. The 11-year-old said:
“I think this will improve safety around our school.
“It will encourage more families to do exercise, and walk, cycle or scooter to school.
“The improved width of the pavements will allow families to walk more safely without being squished up.
“If we can reduce the traffic in the streets around the school, it will decrease the pollution and give us cleaner air to breathe.”
What is a School Street?
The layout of a School Street, also known as a ‘healthy school street’ or ‘school zone’, varies from place to place.
In most cases, traffic is restricted for around 60 minutes at either end of the school day to make the road a walking, wheeling, and cycling zone.
Exceptions are made for emergency vehicles, blue badge holders and residents.
School Streets limit traffic for around 60 minutes at either end of the school day. Credit: Paul Tanner
Creating a safer environment
Additional furniture, like planters and play features, allow people to enjoy the street and help foster a sense of community.
Dalry Primary School will work with its local council and Sustrans to collaboratively design the project, which could include some playful elements such as artwork, planters and benches or seats, so children feel safer and more relaxed.
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
“As part of our recent survey, parents have told us that the streets surrounding Dalry Primary School can be busy with traffic and difficult to navigate safely at certain times of the day.
“We have seen from other similar initiatives across the city that many parents have enjoyed being able to walk and cycle more easily with their children every day, and we look forward to monitoring the results of this project and hopefully delivering the same benefits right across Dalry in partnership with local residents and businesses.”
Enabling young people to thrive
Travelling actively to school has proven to have many benefits for young people.
Teachers find that pupils who cycle, walk or scoot arrive at school more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day than those who travel by car.
School Streets tackle the congestion, poor air quality and road safety concerns that many schools experience.
Elaine Honeyman, Headteacher at Dalry Primary School, said:
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is a top priority.
“By reducing traffic at pick-up and drop-off times, parents and children will feel more empowered to walk, wheel or cycle to school.
“Older pupils making their way to school on their own will be able to cross the roads much more safely.
“Limiting car access also reduces noise and air pollution, creating a more pleasant and sustainable atmosphere for both our school and the surrounding community.”
Children have the opportunity to play and socialise without car noise and air pollution. Credit: Paul Mitchell/Sustrans
Dr Cecilia Oram, Head of Behaviour Change, Sustrans Scotland said:
“Creating a safe environment for young people is so important. Our latest Hands Up Scotland Survey revealed that nearly 50% of school pupils are travelling actively to school, either by walking, cycling, scootering or skating.
“Through the Temporary School Streets Fund, we can encourage even more families to leave the car at home in favour of cleaner air and safer streets.”
The project at Dalry Primary School in Edinburgh is due to be delivered in March 2024.
An online survey is available until 15 January 2024, where residents, parents and carers can share comments on the current safety levels of Springwell Place and Cathcart Place, alongside their feedback and suggestions for the project.