SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE ROUTES TO SCHOOLS IN CHESTERFIELD (SUMMARY ONLY)
How to promote children walking and cycling to school
By Transition Chesterfield
Transition Chesterfield would like to encourage more families to let their children walk or cycle to school which will have numerous benefits for the children, help reduce traffic congestion, and reduce carbon emissions associated with driving to school. To enable more young people to walk and cycle to school usually involves a combination of highway measures (traffic calming, pedestrian crossings, pedestrian/cycle paths) and other forms of support (school travel plans, crossing patrols, cycle storage and training).
Despite an overwhelming number of policies at national, regional and local level (including the Derbyshire Local Transport Plan) promoting children walking and cycling to school, implementation is lacking. The numbers of children walking and cycling to school in Chesterfield remain relatively low. There appears to be a lack of joined up thinking and a mismatch of funding when it comes to implementation. The number of child pedestrian casualties in Chesterfield is well above average (allowing for population) compared to other parts of Derbyshire. Many of these casualties occur at school start and finish times. There needs to be urgent action to reduce the number of children killed or injured while walking or cycling to school. In addition, while it is essential child pedestrian casualties are reduced or eliminated, the policy should not just limit itself to this goal. There needs to be a more comprehensive, holistic approach which recognises the multiple benefits of reducing car-dependency for children and an ethos that fosters walking and cycling to school as the preferred options.
Transition Chesterfield recommends 4 positive actions for Derbyshire County Council which can help achieve this:
1. Reduce speed to 20mph in the vicinity of all schools in Chesterfield, and preferably throughout all residential areas of Chesterfield;
2. Provide zebra crossings on any roads to schools where children experience difficulty crossing. Funds should be made available from the County Council to enable this to be delivered. It is estimated this will amount to a one-off cost of less than one quarter of a per cent of Derbyshire’s capital spend on highways;
3. Provide funding for one or two Bike It officers, through the County Council or in association with the Primary Care Trust, to increase the amount of cycling to school. To cover half the schools in Chesterfield, this would amount to 1% of the amount spent on road/footpath maintenance each year.
4. Publish the existing Child Safety Audits for Derbyshire and include more detailed information in the next Child Safety Audit which can help to identify targeted actions to ensure that all children in Chesterfield have the opportunity to walk and cycle to school safely.
Read the full report on Safe Routes to School.