Reading’s First School Street Now Open

Reading’s first ever School Street opened yesterday (April 19th) at Park Lane Primary (Junior) School.

Parents and schoolchildren reacted enthusiastically to the temporary road closure of both Downing Road and adjoining Lambourne Close between 8.30am to 9.00am, and then again at pick up between 2.55pm to 3.35pm.

The restrictions allow children and parents to walk, cycle or scoot into school safely, as well as a healthier and more pleasant environment for everyone living in the vicinity. Transport Officers, PCSO’S and Civil Enforcement Officers were all  on hand to support the initial opening yesterday.

A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at busy school drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to all school traffic and all through traffic, where a school is located on a through route. Closure points monitored at all times by trained, volunteer School Street marshals, whose job it is to ensure access is maintained for eligible vehicles accessing properties or businesses within the closure area.

The end result is a safer and healthier environment for everyone, including local residents. School Streets also provide more space for parents, pupils and residents to adhere to social distancing measures during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Further information on Reading’s School Streets can be found on our dedicated School Streets webpage – www.reading.gov.uk/schoolstreets

The initiative is being trialled at Park Lane Primary (Junior) School ahead of the introduction of two further School Streets, set to be trialled at Wilson Primary and Thameside Primary later this year.

Rebecca Brown, Junior Head of School said:

“As a school community, we are very excited that our School Street has now launched! We wish to give thanks to the transport planning team at the Council and the local residents and businesses, including The Royal British Legion and The Prince Pub, who have given their support to the trial of this project. We would also not have been able to run this trial without the time and dedication from our parent volunteers who are supporting this as marshals in the times the road is restricted.

 “This School Street is hopefully a positive change for our local community; encouraging children to walk to school more, hopefully having an impact on local pollution rates through less cars idling and making the roads safer at drop off and pick up times for all. We wish to thank all the children and parents for their support and dedication to this change and we look forward to making this project a success as a community!”

James Crosbie, Interim Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Regulatory Services at Reading Borough Council, said:

 “My congratulations to parents and children at Park Lane Juniors for making the first day of Reading first ever School Street such a huge success, and to local residents who live nearby. A big thank you to Rebecca Brown, Junior Head of School, and Nicola Browne, Executive Head, as well. This has been the culmination of a lengthy process which involved the school consulting with nearby households, parents of schoolchildren and carers. We will obviously now continue to closely monitor its operation over the days and weeks to come and hope that Park Lane’s success will encourage even more schools in Reading to come forward.”

Prof Dr Kate Reynolds, Director of Education at Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), which provides education services in Reading, said:

 “We have been keen to promote the benefits of the School Streets scheme to our schools across Reading and are thrilled to see the first project come into operation at Park Lane Primary (Junior) School.

 “School Streets complement BFfC’s Move More campaign which aims to get Reading’s children more active and encourages them to walk, scoot or cycle to school.

 “I’d like to thank everyone at Park Lane Primary and at Reading Borough Council for getting this trial up and running. I hope this and forthcoming trials are a big success and that more schemes follow.”

Two further School Streets at Wilson Primary (Wilson Road, between Oxford Road and Westbourne Terrace) and Thameside Primary (Harley Road) are in the planning stages and due to begin trials later this year. Maiden Erlegh School in Reading, UTC and Alfred Sutton Primary School have developed a joint proposal for a School Street on Crescent Road, between Wokingham Road and Bulmershe Road. The proposal is currently under review by officers, and a recommendation on the proposal is planned to be made at the next Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee in June.

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301