TRAFFIC management measures are being introduced temporarily at more than 20 city schools to help children and parents socially distance as thousands of families prepare to return to the classroom.
Measures including parking restrictions, pavement widening and narrowing lanes are being brought in from September 1 to cover the peak drop-off and pick up times at 23 schools across the city as a way of tackling congestion and queueing on roads and pavements outside the school gates.
The move is designed to deter parents from parking right outside schools, and to make the routes safer for people choosing to walk or cycle instead.
The regulations will be brought into effect at the start of the autumn term, and could remain in place for up to 18 months.
They are part of a wider programme of work drawn up by Leicester City Council which is working with schools to get ready for the safe return of thousands of pupils – many of them attending school for the first time since March.
At Parks Primary School in New Parks, a temporary one-way system, no school drop-off zone and parking restrictions will be put in place involving New Parks Crescent and Gillman Road, preventing waiting or loading between 8.30am and 9.30am, Monday to Friday.
At Madani Schools Federation in Evington Valley Road, the layby outside the school will be closed to widen the footway, and parking restrictions will prevent vehicles from waiting at any time on the west side of Evington Valley Road directly opposite the school.
Temporary one-way systems to prevent congestion will also be introduced on a section of Armadale Drive outside St Joseph’s Catholic School in Humberstone, outside Catherine Junior School in Belgrave, and at Shenton Primary School in North Evington.
A lane closure, parking restrictions and a no school drop-off zone will be created outside Rushey Mead Primary School, widening the footway and preventing vehicles from waiting at any time. Waiting restrictions will also apply on Magnus Road from Monday to Friday 8.30am to 9.30am, and 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
At Sandfields Primary School, in Troon ward, there will a road closure and parking restrictions on the section of Sandfields Close beyond the pub car park entrance.
At Bridge Junior School in North Evington, Whinchat Road and Mere Close will be closed to school traffic from Monday to Friday, between 8.15am and 9.30am, and from 2.30pm to 3.40pm.
Wider pavements to help pedestrians and deter parking will be created by closing lanes outside Catherine Infants School and Abbey Primary school, which both in Belgrave, St Barnabas Primary School in North Evington, Highfields Primary School, Sparkenhoe Community Primary School, Spinney Hill Community School and Coleman Primary School, Medway Primary School in St Stephens Road, Sir Jonathan North Community College in Knighton, Avenue Primary School in Clarendon Park, Hazel Primary School near Filbert Street, and Fosse Primary School.
No waiting zones will also be in place outside the Jameah Girls Academy, in Rolleston Street, North Evington, and on Hobson Road and Orton Road, outside Wolsey House Primary School, in Abbey ward, while at Buswell’s Lodge Primary School, in Beaumont Leys, parking will be prohibited on the whole length of Beauville Drive from Monday to Friday, 8.30pm to 9.30pm and 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
The restrictions are part of a programme of measures surrounding the safe return of thousands of city children to school over the coming weeks following more than five months of absence caused by the COVID-19 lockdown and summer break.
Widening footways and narrowing lanes will make it easier for more people to walk to school safely, while encouraging those travel by car to park further away.
Social distancing reminders have been stencilled on pavements outside some schools to prevent crowds forming while waiting to collect or drop-off, and lamp post wraps have been put in place with key health messaging and advice on staying safe.
Updated cycling and walking maps showing safe routes have been given to schools to share with families, and a journey planner, allowing people to select easy, safe routes between school and home, is also available at the Choose How You Move website here.
Leicester deputy city mayor for transportation and environment, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “Thousands of children are due to return to school over the coming week, meaning the risk of a return to ‘school run’ traffic congestion.
“We’ve been working closely with schools to minimise issues, including measures to deter people from dropping off and collecting children from directly outside schools in their cars.
“With public transport capacity limited, and car sharing difficult due to COVID-19, more than ever we are encouraging people to walk or cycle where they can, and want to make sure the streets around schools are as safe as they can possibly be.”
Extra buses will be operating on busy public transport routes, to make up for the reduction in the numbers of passengers allowed on each vehicle due to social distancing measures.
Pupils are also being encouraged to purchase newly-introduced flexi tickets which allow travel on any of the area’s main bus operators, rather than being tied to a single operator.
Comprehensive information and guidance on all aspects of returning to school, helping children’s wellbeing and explaining measures to limit the risk COVID-19 is available on the city council's coronavirus advice webpages.
Leicester assistant city mayor for education, Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, added: “We have been working hard with schools to support and reassure children returning to school, and doing all we can to make it as safe as possible.
“Part of that has involved schools helping us to get the messages out to parents that they should walk or cycle to school if at all possible, and if they have to rely on public transport or car sharing, how to do so as safely as possible.
“Measures to help maintain social distancing, reduce traffic congestion and reinforce the key public health messages will all help to manage the situation as safely as possible.
“We’ve also pulled together a lot of helpful information to reassure and guide parents and their children about the ways in which we are working together on all aspects of getting back into the classroom for a new term.”