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Safer and healthier school surroundings: another step to combat the climate emergency

The ‘Protegim les escoles’ strategy presented today is about improving environmental quality and safety for children, creating more pleasant spaces at a hundred schools between now and the end of 2023. Priority will be given to schools in areas with high levels of pollution and where road safety poses greater risks.

13/01/2020 14:53 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The goal is to cut air pollution and noise, reduce accidents outside school entrances, eliminate traffic lanes and parking spaces and reduce traffic speed. Open spaces at least 10 metres in diameter will be created, to include greenery and urban furniture and allowing people to stroll and engage in other activities there.

Twenty schools in 2020

Spaces will be created outside twenty schools this year. Projects have already been planned for eight of these, all in the district of L’Eixample: the Escola Carlit, the Escola Marillac, the Escola 9 Graons, the Escola Xirinacs, the Escolàpies Llúria, the Sagrat Cor – Diputació, the Institut Viladomat and the Escola Sagrada Família.

A further thirty-five schools are expected to get these areas next year, with the same number the following year (2022) and finally thirty more centres in the final year. In all, one in three schools will get spaces over this initial three-year period, with work to then continue on the rest of the city’s schools.

Projects will be evaluated by multi-disciplinary teams and developed in keeping with the local area, adapting to the needs of each school.

The strategy sets out these priorities:

  • Nurseries, infants’ and primary schools.
  • Schools with high levels of air and noise pollution.
  • Schools in complex locations in terms of road safety.
  • According to the volume of children at each school.

The first school, in Sant Martí

The first project has already been completed, transforming an area outside the front of the Escola Grèvol in Sant Martí into a new square of 280 square metres.

The speed limit has also been limited to 20 km/h and space used by traffic vehicles halved: C/ Pellaires and C/ Ferrers are exclusively for pedestrian use, while a traffic lane and a row of parking places have been eliminated in C/ Provençals.

Orange paint has been used to highlight the calmed area and an electronic message sign installed. Extra bicycle parking places have also been created.

Comprehensive city transformation

The initiative responds to public demand and is inspired by other initiatives such as the school paths scheme, the superblocks programme and the thirteen eco-chamfers, which have improved access to various schools in L’Eixample.

The continuity of these programmes and the measures set out in the Neighbourhood Plan will help improve the surroundings at eighty more schools.

Against the climate emergency

The programme is designed to help fight the climate emergency, which will be declared this week by the City Council.

The first major measure against pollution was also launched at the start of the year, with the permanent low emission zone coming into force. The zone limits the circulation of 50,000 vehicles and should cut NO2 emissions by 15% this year.

Changes have also been introduced this year to further promote the use of public transport, with new pricing which cuts the cost of frequent-use tickets by up to 25%.

 

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