The Safer School Streets trial is on track to begin during the school summer term, with improvements to the highway expected to start by the end of February.
Contractor Northavon will be installing courtesy crossings, dropped kerbs, tactile paving and updated road markings. The markings will include patterns outside the schools to make it clear to drivers that they are entering a school zone. Benches, cycle stands and planters will also be included on the route with all streets in the area becoming part of a new 20 mph zone.
During the trial, sections of Oakfield Road, Nunney Road and Critch Hill will be closed to traffic between 8.10am to 9am and 2.45pm to 3.30pm, Monday to Friday during term time, and Park Road 8.25am to 8.55am and 3pm to 3.30pm. Exemptions for public transport, blue badge holders, and residents will apply. A 20mph limit will also be introduced along all roads in the School Streets area.
The nationwide School Streets scheme aims to reduce traffic, improve air quality, and create a safer and more pleasant environment for those travelling to and from school. It is hoped that this will encourage more active travel and improve the health and wellbeing of young people and their families.
Cllr Carla Collenette said “It’s good to see the School Streets trial come about after three years of hard work by FTC and the project partners, Somerset Council and Sustrans. Safer Schools Streets zones operate successfully in other parts of the UK, with proven benefits for the health of young people, a reduction in air pollution and enhanced road safety.
“Frome’s children have a right to walk or wheel to school safely, while breathing clean air. This is not possible at the moment, due to the sheer volume of traffic at school drop off and pick up times. There will be an initial trial period of 18 months, and we will be working closing with the community to gather feedback that will inform the scheme’s long-term future.”
All residents of the School Streets area will still be able to access their streets without restriction, along with buses, blue badge holders, emergency services, trades and delivery people.
Katie Fraser, Resilience Project Officer at Frome Town Council, has been working closely with all the School Streets schools to organise a calendar of fun, interactive events, including a recent BMX display with triple Guinness World Record holder and National BMX Champion Matti Hemmings. “We really want to engage all students in activities to promote active travel and get them excited about the direct benefits of the scheme. Morning exercise in natural daylight is proven to boost moods and improve focus, creativity, and productivity. Walking or wheeling to school is also fun, sociable, and free. It’s win, win!”
Frome Town Council has worked with active travel charity Sustrans and Somerset Council to bring Safer Schools Streets to Frome, with funding from the Department for Transport. For more information or to view the plans visit Frome Town Hall, or go to the Safer Schools web page