StreetsForKids, here’s how to seriously remove the cars around schools-

from Anna Gerometta *

Appeal of 400 institutes in 13 European countries to local administrators. Protecting the areas and streets frequented by students is an action necessary for environmental renewal

Friday, May 6 in parents and children from over 400 schools in 13 countries Europeans have launched a strong appeal to local administrators. Protection of areas and roads around schools and kindergartens is the tip of the iceberg of the necessary measures with regard to environmental renewal of our cities but also the one from which one can and must begin. With children’s drawings representing the city they would like to have hung on the gates around the schools, they drive hundreds of happy group trips to reach the schools by defying the trafficthe breakfast with hoods and coffee offered in the middle of the street, as well as games and activities in the spaces around the schools freed for a day from cars, not only while running but also parked, the initiative StreetsFor Kids, Launched by the European Clean Cities Campaign with the support and participation of dozens of associations in the area, it mobilized thousands of families for a joyful and unusually fun day dedicated to civic activism.

Thousands of people with one voice in Europe have asked for it remove traffic immediately around the places where children spend many hours and give them space, greenery, security and clean air, the least that can and must be guaranteed for a new generation, to which we dedicate a lot of private care every day, but which in public under the eyes of everything is crushed in our cities in rooms not suitable for children, sidewalks invaded by cars, where the green is suffering and rare, the air on average poor where not poor quality, and where urban mobility almost always overbearing and dangerous reduces the path of growth towards autonomy drastically. A very happy day. And in Italy? Despite the pouring rain, in Milan MassaMarmocchi’s children they rode on their bicycles and created waves of joy that invaded the city, in Genoa umbrellas in hand have climbed up the alleys, in Rome the cargo bikes from Biketoschool Rom they have taken up space for polluting traffic, while in Cosenza, Catania and Lecce they have made room for games and carousels whose images will resonate strongly in the memory of those who participated and crossed them.

So? Why not do it every day? Following the latest changes by The highway code in our country school roads are possible and anticipated from 2020 (DL 16 July 2020 n.76) and can be activated by order of the mayor to guarantee special protection of pedestrians and the environment. Unfortunately, in contrast to what is happening in many European countries, school roads in Italy have so far been activated almost exclusively in the cities on a temporary basis, ie. as areas that are closed for the period of time required to facilitate children’s arrival at school. However, this activation of the school road continues to prioritize the polluting mobility around the schools, and due to the limited hours in which the restriction is explained, it is not very effective because it minimizes the great benefits, permanent school roads they can offer.

Experience in Europe in recent years shows that the closure of school roads for non-resident traffic can reduce air pollution by up to 23%, thereby improving air quality that children breathe not only outside the school but also inside the building, where of course they breathe the same air. School streets represent for children, but not only for them, space for play and freedom of movement, places to sit and rest, shelter from the sun, have a snack, play and socialize, where neighborhood trade thrives and threads of friendship and cooperation are tied again in the city, which often leaves, even the children, for alone. It is possible to give our cities a new shape, starting with children. It takes a little courage, a sense of justice that recreates the value of health, and a vision that truly puts people at the center.
* Citizens for the air

9 May 2022 (change 9 May 2022 | 18:06)

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