Students and parents at Brunswick East Primary School are enjoying riding and walking without car congestion this month thanks to Ride2School and Moreland City Council’s Open Streets trial.
In the lead up to National Ride2School Day on 19 March, the school drop-off and pick-up area on Stewart Street is for one day a week being opened exclusively to people riding, walking, scooting and skating with no congestion and car traffic.
Ride2School's Open Streets initiative mirrors similar programs overseas which promote the use of public streets for recreation, mobility and leisure-time activities with the aim of creating more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.
Bicycle Network General Manager Behaviour Change Leyla Asadi said Ride2School and Moreland City Council’s Open Streets trial is giving every child and their family space to enjoy a fun and safe environment at drop-off and pick-up times.
“Car congestion around the school gate is stressful for parents, students and teachers and sitting in cars instead of walking and bike riding means our kids are missing out on exercise and social interaction,” said Ms Asadi.
“Open Streets tackles these issues by supporting students and their families to actively travel in a fun and vibrant environment.”
The first day of the Open Streets trial was held on Friday 5 March, with students and parents enjoying being able to freely ride, walk and enjoy their trip to school.
This morning my team delivered the first trial of it's kind (as far as I'm aware) in Vic, maybe Aus, to open a street in front of a school to people🚶♀️🚲🛴🛼🛹, making vehicles detour. The trial will take place 3 wks in a row in an attempt to shift behaviour to active travel. pic.twitter.com/W8Fid1VRqq
— Leyla (@lolba) March 4, 2021
The Open Streets zone is operating on Stewart Street between Cunnington Avenue and Nicholson Street with support from a traffic management team.
Information flyers have been distributed to the school community and residents. People who live in the Open Street zone can enter and exit their properties with help from traffic managers, while those who must drive to school can park nearby and complete the trip on bike or foot.
“Families who live further afield or need to drop off kids on their commute can park a short distance away and walk or get the bikes or scooters out of the car boot, because part way is also ok,” added Ms Asadi.
Moreland City Council Mayor Cr Annalivia Carli Hannan said Council was proud to be partnering with Bicycle Network and Brunswick East Primary School on Open Streets.
“This is such a great initiative to open up the streets to children walking and riding to school, without the car traffic, to encourage more active, connected and happier communities on our streets.
“We’ve provided funding towards this program which will also create space for exercising, having fun and being healthy, and we hope to support more initiatives like this in the future,” Cr Carli Hannan said.
Brunswick East Primary School has been involved in Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program for many years. More than 50 per cent of Brunswick East students currently ride, walk, scoot or skate to school, more than double the national average.
The Open Streets trial is operating at 8:00am – 9:30am and 3:00pm – 4:30pm on Friday 5 March, Friday 12 March and Friday 19 March 2021.