Guernsey Press

La Houguette trials road closure for pupils’ safety

Teachers, pupils and parents have welcomed the trial closure of a road near La Houguette primary school this week in a bid to improve road safety.

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La Houguette headteacher Claire Judd with students, left to right, Zach Walker, 10, Benaiah Krige, 9, Malie Rahie-Torode, 10, and Tabitha Marsh, 9. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33249331)

Rue de L’Arquet is closed from the junction with Bas Rouvets to the junction with Route des Adams and Route des Paysans every day until Friday from 8.30am to 9am and 2.45pm to 3.30pm.

It forms part of the School Street scheme, which involves roads outside schools having temporary restrictions on motorised traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. The closure applies to all traffic except cycles and vehicles accessing properties along the road, and could become permanent if this week is to be deemed successful.

La Houguette headteacher Claire Judd said the idea had come about following meetings between the school’s Rights Respecting Group, Traffic & Highway Services, and the Health Improvement Commission.

‘We are a school which embraces active travel and many of the pupils walk or cycle to and from school every day, but concerns over safety were one of the main reasons for pupils not wanting to do so.’

Pupils distributed leaflets proposing the idea to people living along the road last week. Mrs Judd said it had received positive feedback, which prompted the trial closure.

‘We had 32 children on the first "walking bus" this morning, and I expect the number will grow over the week,’ she said.

The school’s walking buses see pupils congregate at Morrison’s garage by Perelle and walk up in a group to school while supervised by teachers and parents.

Alex Coston, who was part of yesterday morning’s first bus, along with her five-year-old son Atticus, said the walk had felt really safe, as well as being environmentally friendly.

‘It was nice not to have to worry about cars coming up or down the road. I think it’s also beneficial for the children’s wellbeing as it gives pupils who don’t live close enough to school the chance to get some sort of a walk in.’

Members of the school’s Rights Respecting Group also gave a thumbs up to the idea.

Zach Walker, 10, said the closure was a good way to mark La Houguette’s Walk to School week.

‘A lot of us also walk or cycle to school outside of using the walking bus, so anything to help with our active travel is good.’

Benaiah Krige, 9, agreed. ‘I hope that the road stays closed. It makes us feel safe and it’s good for the environment.’

Traffic & Highway Services road safety officer Paul James said he had been pleased to meet pupils to listen to their concerns and hear their request for a School Street.

‘We welcome the opportunity to trial another School Street, following the successful implementation of the School Street in St Martin’s, and we’re particularly pleased that this trial can take place during Walk to School Week and Alternative Transport Week.’