In a unanimous decision taken at Council the final designs for Safer School Streets scheme has now been approved by Frome Town Council and moves to the next stage. Safer School Streets is designed to make roads and junctions safer for walking and cycling and centres arounds 4 of Frome’s schools – Trinity, Oakfield, Avanti, Critchill, and Bright Stars Nursery. The aim of the project is to design streets that are safer and that will encourage more families who can, to actively travel to school safely while maintaining access for anyone who lives and works in the area.
The plans have been designed by Sustrans in partnership with the schools, Frome Town Council and Somerset County Council, and in extensive engagement with input parents and local residents.
The key proposals for the School Street scheme include timed road closures around participating schools, an extension to the existing 20mph zone, the inclusion of planters, trees and on street patterns to highlight the scheme’s area and to also slow traffic. Sustrans have also secured additional funding for a Quiet Way on Oakfield and Somerset Road which will provide further traffic calming measures and safer crossing points. Importantly for the scheme residents, blue badge holders, buses and emergency services are still able to travel through the closure zone.
The plans agreed at Council are subject to a Road Safety Audit and approval from Somerset as the Highways Authority, and therefore changes may still need to be made to the scheme. The hope is that the scheme can be implemented for a trial period of 18 months starting in spring 2023.
Cllr Carla Collenette said: “The safety of children as they walk to and from school is the driving force behind the Safer School Streets scheme. It is not good enough that our children are put repeatedly and daily at risk from cars, bad parking, exhaust fumes and idling engines. We need to make our streets safer for everyone by removing these obstacles and this is an opportunity for us to work together toward that ambition. We are delighted to be able to move these plans forward to the next phase.”
During the 18- month trial the scheme will be monitored and evaluated to determine its effectiveness. It will look at the reduction in traffic, improved safety and any increasing levels of active travel on the school run as well as any additional concerns flagged by the community. At the end of the 18-month trial a community wide decision will be made as to whether to make the scheme permanent.
Following Somerset County Council’s relevant safety audits and approvals, the trial of the scheme will be implemented through an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), meaning the changes will be legally enforceable for the 18-month period and the impacts will be recorded and assessed.
As the Quiet Way has been included in the scheme Sustrans have also secured additional funding to design crossings at the Broadway and The Butts junctions and are applying for funding for delivery in a later addition to the scheme.
The plans will now be submitted for approval by Somerset Highways, for the scheme to commence the trial in spring 2023.
The full breakdown of all the plans are available on the School Streets page.