Timely re-think on school boundaries

Parents who hope to get their young children riding to school and getting the benefits of healthy exercise are often stymied because there is a massive arterial road—humming with traffic—in the way.

In the other direction there is a safe and direct route to another school, but they can’t take it. Why? Because it is in another school zone.

Minister for Education, James Merlino, has confirmed that a review of how school zone boundaries are set is underway.

Typically such a review would be considering a range of factors, including school capacity, distance from home to schools, and other factors.

Bicycle Network would like to see another—often neglected—element added to the mix: opportunity for active travel to school.

All the indicators are pointing the wrong way when it comes to physical activity and children. They are only getting a fraction of what they need for health and development.

The best opportunity to tackle the inactivity crisis is to use the trip to school. Schools are distributed so that in theory every child can bike or walk to the classroom, but the school zone boundary can get in the way.

Currently some children find this almost impossible because their assigned zone straddles major infrastructure barriers and unsafe, busy roads.

So, why can’t we take into consideration opportunity for active travel to school when school zone boundaries are being drawn up?

And at the same time we could cut some of the peak period road congestion caused by all those unnecessary school drop-offs.

Learn more about Bicycle Network's Ride2School program.

Melbourne school zone grab