How can we enable our children to walk or ride to school?
Most children in Yarra enjoy walking and cycling, and live within 1 km of a primary school or 3 km of a high school. If our streets were safe enough for children to walk or cycle to school, then parents could save the hassle of dropping them off and picking them up, which would reduce traffic for everyone. This would make Yarra better for children as well as better for drivers.
Encouraging children to engage in physical activity has the potential for profound positive impacts for their intellectual development, physical and mental health, social development and confidence, and also for the likelihood that they continue to adopt other healthy behaviours.Heart Foundation
The City of Yarra has an 0-25 Years Plan with a Strategic Priority for child and family friendly environments for walking and cycling. Unfortunately, the required infrastructure hasn’t yet been delivered.
Advocate for pedestrian and cycling friendly environments for children, young people and their families.City of Yarra 0-25 Years Plan 2018-2022
Yarra has also adopted a Transport Strategy that includes a New Deal for Schools:
Policy 2. Implement a New Deal for Schools – support active travel by children and families. Each year, schools will be selected for the New Deals for Schools program.City of Yarra Transport Strategy
What Yarra can do
Yarra can deliver ‘pedestrian and cycling friendly environments’ by:
- calming local streets to create 30 km/h Low Traffic Neighbourhoods,
- building raised threshold treatments on all main streets, and
- linking neighbourhoods with a network of protected bicycle lanes.
If children deserve safe routes to each school, then our entire street network needs to be safe for children, because most streets are used to get from homes to schools.
Yarra can replicate the work of the City of Moonee Valley, publishing maps for each school, showing how parents can park a short distance away and then walk with their children to school. This improves safety on the streets immediately surrounding each school. Here is an example:
Council can also trial school streets, where streets around schools are closed to motor vehicle traffic. The photo shows a trial by Bicycle Network in collaboration with Brunswick East Primary School and the City of Moreland.
Improvements around each school
The following pages present proposals and recent improvements around schools:
- Abbotsford Primary School
- Alphington Primary School
- Carlton North Primary School
- Clifton Hill Primary School
- Collingwood College
- Fitzroy Primary School
- Fitzroy North Primary School
- Fitzroy High School
- Lynall Hall Community School
- Melbourne Girls College
- Merri Creek Primary School
- Princes Hill Primary School
- Richmond High School
- Richmond Primary School
- Richmond West Primary School
- Spensley Street Primary School
- Yarra Primary School
Support from Parents’ Voice
Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Their survey shows broad community support for safe routes to school.
Support from the Herald Sun
The traffic situation around many Victorian primary schools is reaching crisis point…Other changes that have led to positive changes at some busy primary schools include reduction of speed limits on nearby streets and the creation of maps with safe travel routes…The safety of our children is paramount, and parents, schools and councils all have a role to play.Herald Sun Editorial 18th July 2019
Support from VicHealth
Support from Our Children Our Schools
Support from Safe Streets to School Australia
Community group Safe Routes to School Australia are doing great work, check out their website and sign their petition.
Guidance from Mobycon
Mobycon, transport and urban planning consultants, offer guidance on creating child friendly school zones.
Streets Alive Yarra is building up a network of champions for each school, to show broad community support for safer streets. Do you have ideas for how to make the streets safer near your school, or would you like to be a champion for your local school? Contact us to learn more.