How can we enable our children to walk or ride to school?

Yarra is home to 22 primary schools and 9 secondary schools. Children need to get to school each day, and most children in Yarra live within walking or cycling distance of their local primary or 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.

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.

Video credit: Parents’ Voice

Support from the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation points out that far fewer children now walk or ride to school, and that:

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

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

Image credit: from VicHealth

Safe routes to each school means all of Yarra

If children travel up to 2 km to school, and if children deserve safe routes to each school, then our entire street network needs to be safe for children. The image below shows the location of schools, TAFEs or Universities in Yarra – a 2 km catchment zone around each one would cover the entire City of Yarra.

Location of schools in Yarra. Image credit: City of Yarra Urban Forest Strategy

What Yarra can do

Yarra can enable children from any address in Yarra to safely access their local school by upgrading each Local Area Place Making precinct to a 30 km/h superblock, and joining superblocks with a network of protected footpaths and protected bicycle lanes.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and Google Maps

Yarra can also 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:

Image credit: City of Moonee Valley

School streets

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.

Image credit: Leyla on twitter

Our Children Our Schools

Community group Our Children Our Schools is also doing great work, and in a recent Victorian State Budget submission made the following recommendations on facilitating and funding active transport to schools:

Guidance from Mobycon

Mobycon, transport and urban planning consultants, offer guidance on creating child friendly school zones.

Improvements around each school

The following pages present proposals and recent improvements around schools:

Take action

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.

Let’s build safe routes to school