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Coburg North street open to active commuters only

Students, teachers and parents riding and walking to Coburg North Primary School have exclusive access to a neighbouring street that is closed to car traffic during drop-off and pick-up times.

Bishop Street in Coburg North, running between Gaffney and O’Hea streets transformed from a congested car park into a hive of activity last Friday, thanks to Ride2School’s Open Streets program and partnership with Moreland City Council.

The Open Streets program will continue this Friday 3 December and the following Friday 10 December.

The new program by Bicycle Network's Ride2School team mirrors similar initiatives overseas which promote the use of public streets for recreation, mobility and leisure-time activities in a bid to create more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.

By removing traffic and congestion, communities are also given a glimpse of a calmer and safer environment around schools.

Bicycle Network General Manager Behaviour Change Leyla Asadi said: "Ride2School and Moreland City Council’s Open Streets program aims to give 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 vital 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.”

And it couldn’t come at a better time, with a study by Deakin University finding children aged five to 12 were 73 per cent less likely to meet national guidelines for 60 minutes of daily exercise during the recent lockdowns.

The Open Streets program was first trialed at Brunswick East Primary School in March this year and was a great success, with active travel increasing almost 20% during the pilot program, and over 80% of surveyed participants supporting the program continuing at least once a week.

The Open Streets initiative at Coburg North Primary School kicked off this Friday 26 November, 8.15am-9.15am and 3.15pm-4.15pm, and will continue for two weeks on Friday 3 December and Friday 10 December.

You can learn more about the Open Streets program and get in touch with the Ride2School team to enquire about getting involved on the Ride2School website.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.