In the capital of Austria, the pilot project “Schulstraße”(School Street) has come to an end. The temporary ban on driving cars near schools fulfilled its task. Parents and local authorities have called for its continuation, and other institutions inform of their willingness to “shut off” new school streets.
Ahead of the elementary school in Vereinsgasse St. in the 2nd district of Vienna, a pilot project “Schulstraße” (or the School Street) was held from 10 September to 2 November. On school days, between 7.45am and 8:15pm, a ban on driving cars, motorcycles and other motorized vehicles was imposed to avoid dangerous road situations. The operation of the new solution has been evaluated and analyzed by road traffic experts.
-“A temporary ban on driving ahead of school has certainly contributed to improving the safety of children,” says Petra Jens, a pedestrian communication specialist at the Vienna Mobility Agency, as well as the initiator of the project. ”Much fewer children were brought to school by car, but instead they came on push scooters, bicycles or on foot”, she adds.
At the request of parents, school and district administration, Vereinsgasse Street remains a school street. Twenty more schools have already reported their interest in participating in the project. “All parents want Schulstrasse,” says Uski Lichtengegger, the Head of the district. “School Street is positively perceived by children, parents, school leadership and neighbours”, he emphasizes.
Currently, on weekdays from 7.45am to 8.15am a traffic restriction for motorized transport on Vereinsgasse Street remains in effect. In addition to street signs notifying of the “school street”, it is also blocked using the barriers (turnstiles) that were necessary for the full implementation of the ban.
The pilot project has become a permanent solution that will be implemented in other parts of Vienna. Other Viennese schools are eager to follow the example of Vereinsgasse. More than 20 inquiry forms from school representatives with the request to create the “school street” have already been directed to the city administration. The possibilities of such implementation are currently being analyzed. Interested representatives of schools or districts can contact the Mobility Agency in Vienna. Requests for a pilot project were also received from such cities as Krakow, Berlin and Montreal, which are also interested in improving the safety of children and in changing transportation habits of their inhabitants.
There are currently around 300 schools in Vienna, so it takes time for the entire city to be covered by the new program. It is worth noting that electric scooters and bikes are treated as traditionary ones, and can be used to get to school.
Not only safety
The Viennese authorities have been promoting pedestrian traffic and increasing the safety of pedestrians for many years. The current Urban Mobility Plan also envisages that by 2025, 80% of all trips will be taken in ecological ways (on foot, by bicycle or by public transport). In 2013, a unit responsible for activities within the city structures in this area was created, that is, the abovementioned Mobility Agency. One of its most important tasks is the further promotion of walking and healthy transportation choices within the city. Quite a few activities are aimed at the youngest, which are instrumental in promoting healthy mobility modes.