A trial to restrict vehicle traffic past a south Bristol primary school is due to begin in the New Year to improve road safety for pedestrians.

Upton Road is due to be closed from mid-February on a section of road between Raleigh Road and Greenway Bush Lane for up to 18 months to allow Bristol City Council and the community to fully assess the impact of the experimental closure outside Ashton Gate Primary School’s annexe site.

Temporary barriers will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the trial for the 20-metre stretch of road.

Comments from the community will be invited during the first six months of the closure to help Bristol City Council agree the best permanent solution for vehicle access through Upton Road.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“We’ve been listening closely to the concerns of the local community, including parents and teachers, about road safety since the school’s new site opened in Upton Road. We have looked at all the options available, including a partial closure, but we think this could be the most effective way to make sure that children and staff can come and go as safely as possible. We are also considering the welfare of all road users – helping pedestrians move safely and encouraging drivers find a more suitable route for their journeys.”

The new school site in Upton Road was opened in 2015 to meet growing pupil numbers but with the playground and sports area at the annexe across the road, staff and children need to cross the busy highway throughout the school day to get to lessons. The road has been narrowed in order to reduce the length of crossing for children, however, there have been reports of drivers cutting across the new, wider footways at junctions, which is why the option of closing the short section is being explored.

Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Cabinet Member for Transport, added:

“The school has been campaigning for further action for some time so it is right we consider all ways to improve safety. This closure is only a small segment between junctions so we’re confident it shouldn’t be too difficult for motorists to adapt their usual route to help us create a much safer walking environment. This is of course only a trial and we welcome feedback on how it runs to help us fully consider what should be put in place permanently.”

Sheena Stewart, Head at Upton Road, Ashton Gate Primary School, said: “We welcome the use of an experimental closure for Upton Road. We hope that the trial period will help to inform the decision on a safe and permanent solution.”

Consultation on the experimental order will run from the closure in February. The exact date the stretch of Upton Road will be closed from will be confirmed in the New Year.

Press release by Bristol City Council.

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