Walk to school

We love a challenge at Living Streets.

Take school gate congestion for example. The school run can see the roads outside our schools become very congested, stressful, even dangerous places at the start and end of the school day.

Gladly these circumstances have inspired a handful of our WOW schools in Edinburgh to try out a brilliant new scheme – car-free zones that allow children to walk their last few minutes to school without being surrounded by traffic.

Parent and child

What's the story?


Edinburgh City Council’s School Streets scheme has seen the streets immediately outside several of the Scottish capital’s primary schools closed to motorised vehicles at peak times.

The 11 schools taking part over the course of the year were selected due to the specific issues they already faced with the number of drivers bringing their cars too close to the school gates.

Children with our zebra crossing

They are also all schools where Living Streets already runs WOW - our year-round walk to school challenge, so they are already doing their bit to reduce congestion and promote walking.

The first phase in September saw Abbeyhill, Colinton, Duddingston, Sciennes and St John’s Primary School, and they were joined by Towerbank Primary School, St Peter's RC Primary School, Clermiston Primary School, Bonaly Primary School and Buckstone Primary School in January.

Edinburgh City Council will pilot the closures for a year and naturally we are hoping more councils will follow Edinburgh’s lead.

Winning support for the Schools Streets closure programme is a significant achievement for Edinburgh which sets an example to councils throughout Scotland and the UK

Chris Thompson, Schools & Projects Coordinator at Living Streets in Scotland

Chris continues:

“By closing the immediate streets outside school gates, the council and participating schools are sending a resounding message that walking to school, even for the last few minutes, is incredibly important for the wellbeing of young people.

“We want to see more children walking to school throughout Scotland and setting in place the habit of a lifetime. Walking to school will benefit the whole city, reducing congestion and air pollution whilst boosting the health of every child who is taking additional steps to school.”

I am delighted to see School Streets in action. Promoting active and sustainable travel is one of our main priorities, and by creating a safe and relaxed atmosphere near our schools, we are encouraging this from a very early age.

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds

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