car free street in Bolzano
Car-free school streets

Vienna is joining cities around the world that are moving to rid school precincts of the scourge of school drops-offs.

Cars will be banned in the streets around the Vereinsgasse primary school for 30 minutes in the peak of the morning rush hour.

People walking and on bikes will have the streets to themselves.

The local community voted for the changes in 2014, after conditions around the school became intolerable due to the mum and dad taxi service to the school.

Another large school nearby meant double trouble.

The streets were unsafe, the start of the school day was stressful for everyone, and too few children were getting sufficient exercise because they came to school in cars.

So the decision was made to pilot a “school street”.

Barriers will be erected and that will be that.

Paradoxically, the school taxi trip has been on the rise in many places, including Australia because parents thinks the children will be safer, although the evidence shows the opposite.

Twenty years ago the northern Italian town of Bolzano was the first to close school streets to improve safety. There was strong opposition from parents, even from teachers.

Car trips to school dropped to 20 percent, but what really caught the world’s attention was the jump in learning performance by the students that no longer came by car.

Now a world-wide movement is emerging that says the benefits of deliberately restricting car travel to schools is more than worth the whinging from the opponents.

A video on the Bolzano experience is below.

Local trials being investigated

Bicycle Network is looking at ways to trial car-free streets through its Ride2School program.

Plans are being made for a trial later this year in the Wyndham area, however there are some stakeholders who are yet to be fully convinced that a car-free zone could be beneficial.

If you live around Wyndham and would like to see the car-free school street project go ahead, please get in touch with our Ride2School team.

If you think car exclusion zones would be good for your school but are in another area, please also feel free to contact us.

Contact Ride2School