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People powered streets – Ride & Stride families leading Open Streets

By July 4, 2023June 5th, 2024No Comments
Two kids in front of school gates.
Over the last 3 years, Merri-bek City Council and Bicycle Network have partnered to deliver Australia’s first Open Streets trials at 9 of our Ride & Stride schools.
The trials are held 1 day a week for 3 weeks and restrict car traffic in a short section of the street outside school gates at drop-off and pick-up times. This opens the space for kids to walk, ride and scoot to school safely, and creates calmer and quieter streets for local residents.
Across the trials, we’ve held 31 Open Streets days which saw an average of 70% of students walking or riding to school. 94.5% of parents felt the street was safer for their child and 92% of families wanted to see more regular Open Streets at their school.
Parent and child on bike in front of road closed sign.

Parents take control

Now, parents are taking the trials to the next level by running their own regular events to create healthier, happier streets outside schools.
School-led Open Streets are run by parent volunteers. Parents can nominate days over the year they wish to run the event, and attend a brief Council traffic management training session. On the days of the events, volunteers set out the signage, close the road and the Open Street begins!
Coburg North Primary launched their program in March 2023, running their Open Streets the first Friday of each month. Merri-bek Primary held their first on a beautiful winter’s morning in June and planning 4 more this year.
We’re seeing a lot of joy, and happy and active children each morning and afternoon outside our schools with 67% of students riding or walking to school.
Our schools join 1,200 Open Street schools around the world with most operating daily through volunteer led closures.

How it works

Council provides the signage and necessary permits and training. Schools are able to run the events any way they’d like – from parent run coffee stalls, bike obstacle courses, hula hoops and a whole lot of street chalking.
Open Streets are for everyone, whether they walk, ride, scoot or drive. With less traffic on the roads, families that need to drive can park safely outside the zone and walk the last part of their journey. Residents or anyone with accessibility needs always keep access and are able to be escorted by the volunteers through the area.
We’re hoping to help more schools & parents start running their own volunteer led Open Streets through our Ride & Stride program.

Contact

If you’d like your school to become a Ride & Stride school next year, or your school has been a Ride & Stride school already and you’d like to see School-led Open Streets contact zerocarbon@merri-bek.vic.gov.au