A ten-year-old schoolboy with a backpack on his back slams the car door and disappears into school. Two children run out of the next car, and from the third, the first-grader gets out with his mother, who leads him by the hand to the school building. The snake of their parents’ cars slowly moves down the street, and their drivers – usually moms and dads here and there – “push” the cars in front of them with their eyes.
Children who came on foot or by public transport are intertwined between all this. There are only minutes left until the ringing. A similar picture can be seen in the morning rush hour at almost every Prague school.
The solution is the School Street project, which always shows the entrance to the street leading around the school from 7:30 to 8:00, ie thirty minutes before class. The projects started last autumn at the Stoliňská and Chodovická primary schools in Horní Počernice, where a car ran into a police officer during the morning “school” rush hour and knocked down a child.
The aim of the project is to prevent chaos, protect children and improve the air quality in schools, which is rapidly deteriorating due to the “mama taxi”. The principle of the Školní ulice project, which came to the municipality’s Department of Transport, is simple. First, it is forbidden to enter the school for three trial weeks using temporary portable traffic signs before classes.
If the new arrangement is adopted, permanent traffic signs will follow. This is the case of the aforementioned Stoliňská Street in Počernice, where in the first weeks pupils and cantors stood with leaflets at the entry ban and explained the reasons for the measures to the drivers.
According to Martin Březina, last year, after less than a month of school, the number of pupils that parents regularly drove to school decreased by twenty, and on the contrary, those who walked.
Prague 6, which introduced Školní Street at the Hanspaulka Primary School on Monday 13 September, expects at least the same benefit. “As in the previous cases, they also chose the test mode first. There are cone barriers and there are patrols in the entry ban. The project should last until the end of this year, “says Karolína Klímová from the City Department of Transport.
She found inspiration for the Prague project in the Austrian capital. “Vienna started with two schools in 2019 and the number grew,” explains Klímová. According to Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Prague itself), the municipality only sponsors the project. “We solve the traffic side of things, but otherwise it depends mainly on specific city districts,” says Adam Scheinherr.
If you take children to school, for what reason?
total votes: 3659
The vote is closed
Readers voted by 0:00 Thursday, September 23, 2021. The poll is closed.
Although he did not stay at the Počernice school in the Chodovice School Street project, the city district had a professional study prepared and more significant transport measures introduced in the area.
“We had a closed street towards the school for three weeks to ensure the safety of the children. But the unification of some streets would help us. The School Street project had good results as long as there were children with vests and a teacher standing at the entrance ban. Otherwise, in our experience, drivers of road signs (only traffic service is permanently allowed to enter the part of the street near the school – note. Red.) rather do not respect, “explains Pavel Wild, the director of the Chodovická primary school.
“The school street project in Chodovická was satisfied with the percentage of parents interviewed, but at the same time I stated that they wanted a more radical solution,” Klímová explains, adding that the number of pupils brought to the car school will decrease during the trial operation. The loss of cars also supports the adjustment of the school bus timetable, which transports children from the area.
The bus regularly got stuck in a traffic jam and the students went to class with a five-minute delay. Some parents preferred not to rely on public transport and chose a car in an effort to transport their children on time. The moment the bus started running earlier, his parents preferred him.
He wants to calm down the city district of Prague 20 – Horní Počernice in traffic in Chodovický, where, in addition to primary and kindergarten and grammar school. “The school is near the housing estate and there is also very sad parking. Cars drive into narrow streets against each other and that is a big problem, “says Eva Alexová, Deputy Mayor of Prague 20 (Chance for Počernice).
A similar project has been used at the 3rd primary school in Říčany since June 2020, and Bolzano, Italy, some cities in the United Kingdom and fifteen schools in The Hague, the Netherlands, have a similar practice.
“School streets are just one of the tools that can be used to optimize traffic around the school. When looking for a suitable solution, the situation in the place must be assessed comprehensively, “Karolína Klímová called, and also recalls the project of Prague and the organization Walking through the City called Safe Ways to School. It aims to change the surroundings of schools so that as many children as possible can walk and parents do not even have to worry.
The fourth year of the Walk to School event will take place from 16 to 22 September and will be part of European Mobility Week.
“During the quarantine series, people used to stay at home and avoid populated places. Parents are afraid to travel with their children by public transport. Also, the idea of crowded streets knows no uncertainty. Walking to school will make it easier for us to return to a normal life, “says Marie Čiverná, coordinator of the Walk to School. Part of the event is a competition for the class that goes the most.