Improving journeys to and from school including an update on Red and Amber School Crossings
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 4th December, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 50.)
Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods)
This report provides an overview of the work being carried out to improve journeys to and from school. This includes opportunities for children and schools to encourage reduced use of the car for school journeys and to encourage alternative modes of active travel, activities to reduce idling and an update on the provision of school buses, including for those children with education, health and care plans.
The red and amber school crossings programme is well underway with 46 of the 81 sites being complete and the remainder due for completion by the spring/summer 2020.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) that provided an overview of the work being carried out to improve journeys to and from school. This included opportunities for children and schools to encourage reduced use of the car for school journeys and to encourage alternative modes of active travel, activities to reduce idling and an update on the provision of school buses, including for those children with education, health and care plans. The report also provided an update on Red and Amber School Crossing Improvements.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Describing the activities to promote active travel and to address vehicle idling near or outside schools;
· Information on Road Safety Week;
· Information on Red Routes;
· Information on activities undertaken during Clean Air week;
· Activities to address vehicle idling;
· The provision of school buses and travel passes; and
· Red and Amber School Crossing Improvements Update.
The Committee heard from the Neighbourhood Team Lead, South Neighbourhood Team who described the activities delivered in the Sharston ward area to promote active travel to schools and improve the school journey. He described that this had arisen in response to the increased levels of obesity in school children. He also explained that local schools had worked with a range of local services and partners to deliver an activity day in the local park. He described one of the initiatives had been to encourage children to undertake a survey of their route to school to help improve their journey. He said that the issues they had identified as being of concern to them were litter and irresponsible parking.
A Member of the Committee, who was a ward councillor for the area discussed, commended the excellent work that had been delivered with young people, despite the restraints on budgets. He said that it was very important to engage with and listen to the views of young people to better understand their concerns. He stated that improving the journey to schools for young people was not simply a Highways issue and required a multi service and multi-agency response.
The Chair acknowledged the comments and stated that there were a number of good examples across other wards of similar projects and these examples of good practice should be shared with all Councillors to help support and initiate this activity, adding that all schools should be encouraged to deliver similar projects.
Councillor Reid, Ward Councillor for Gorton and Abbey Hey and former Chair of the Road Safety Around Schools Task and Finish Group addressed the Committee. She stated that she welcomed the reported progress in delivering improvements to road safety. She stated that Members would benefit from a comprehensive list of all road safety improvement works delivered and if possible, provided with before and after photographs. This recommendation was supported by the Committee. Officers responded by stating this would be provided.
The Committee then heard from representatives from TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) who provided Members with an overview and statistics relating to the delivery of bus services to and from schools across Manchester; the approach to travel passes and activities to promote active travel and improving air quality. Noting the budgetary pressures and challenges to deliver this service; noting the significant growth in the student population over recent years; the large number of feeder schools into secondary provision and the complex nature of the bus network across the city.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Consideration needed to be given to planning school bus routes, noting that some routes had been withdrawn following the start of the September term;
· What enforcement action was taken to address vehicle idling;
· What schools would benefit from Red Routes, which means that all vehicles (except buses) would not be allowed to stop where there were red lines; and
· Consideration should be given to purchasing and trialling the use of mobile portable bollards that could be used to prevent parking on pathways and zigzag road markings in identified hotspots outside of schools.
In response to a question regarding Red Routes, the Head of Design, Commissioning and PMO stated that the initial take up of this offer from schools had been low. He stated that schools would be canvassed again to enquire if they would be interested in implementing this at their school.
The Chair commented that an ongoing frustration for Members was inaccuracies within the list of schools provided and corresponding wards in which they were listed as being located. The Chair recommended that officers from the Education Department liaise with the Highways Department to ensure the records were current and accurate. Officers representing the Education Department gave an assurance that this would be done.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport acknowledged the suggestion of purchasing and trialling the use of portable bollards. She stated that contractors could be encouraged to discharge their Social Value obligations to contribute to the purchasing of these. She stated this would be looked into and information on how this could be developed further would be provided to the Committee.
The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport informed the Committee that a lot of action had been undertaken by schools to raise awareness amongst parents and carers in regard to the impact and harm resulting from vehicle idling, such as providing written information and discussing this at parent evenings and other appropriate opportunities.
The Chair concluded that Manchester Council had committed significant investment to improve road safety for the children living in the city and more needed to be done to publicise this positive story.
1. Recommends that the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport gives consideration to purchasing and trialling the use of mobile portable bollards to prevent parking on pathways and zigzag road markings in identified hotspots outside of schools;
2. Recommend that the Education Department liaise with the Highways Department to ensure the lists of schools and wards in which they are located in are accurate.
3. Recommend that information detailing the road safety improvements works completed in each ward is circulated to all relevant ward Councillors, with photographs provided, if available.
- ImprovingJourneysTo&FromSchool, item 50. PDF 460 KB
- Appendix 1 - ImprovingJourneysTo&FromSchool, item 50. PDF 101 KB
- Appendix 2 - ImprovingJourneysTo&FromSchool, item 50. PDF 167 KB