Environment

VideoTraffic-calming dragon appears outside St Michael’s C of E Primary Academy

Photo of the dragon road safety design

Posted on: 14 August 2020

Pupils at St Michael’s Church of England Primary Academy in Exeter will be welcomed back to school by a large mythical dragon when they return after the summer break.

The colourful dragon is designed to slow traffic and encourage people driving to be more aware of people who are walking and cycling, to make the space outside the school safer for school children and other road users. The dragon spans the road outside the school and is the first of its kind in Devon.

Sustrans and Devon County Council have been working on this road safety project with the school and local community for two years. The installation of the dragon design marks the completion of the project.

James Cleeton, Sustrans Director for the South of England, explained: “The dragon design is intended to show people driving that they are entering a special school zone, so they should drive with extra care and consideration.

“This type of road calming measure has been used successfully across the UK and Europe over a number of years. Evidence from previous projects has shown designs like this positively influence driving behaviour by, for example, slowing speeds.  Slower motor traffic speeds make a road safer for people walking, cycling or scooting.

“The placing of the dragon is well-timed to support the many families who have taken to these active modes of travel during the coronavirus lockdown.”

The design came about after a series of workshops with the school and local community. The workshops explored road safety concerns and barriers to walking and cycling in the local area. They also generated ideas for solutions, including the dragon artwork.

Sustrans tested the dragon design in a temporary trial in November 2018 and received positive feedback. 70% of respondents to the charity’s survey agreed that it would make the street safer.

Sustrans, Devon County Council and staff at St Michael’s hope that the dragon will support families to choose active travel to get to and from school, by slowing traffic speeds and helping people to feel safer to be on foot, scooter or bike.

Karen Leach, Acting Headteacher of St Michael’s C of E Primary Academy, commented: “We have always been delighted to work with Sustrans and the children have been excited to engage with designing the dragon for this installation.

“The St Michael’s community will always engage and support projects such as this, which will enable our children to actively travel to school safely.”

Photo of Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “This exciting project complements the recent improvements to the E3 cycle route which runs through this area. Together they will help families and the wider community to walk and cycle safely, not only as we come out of lockdown but embedding a culture of active travel within the city for the long term, which will help provide health benefits and improve the local environment.”

We will undertake further monitoring once the community has had time to get used to the changes. This will help us to know how effective the design has been in slowing vehicles, raising awareness of movement around the school entrances and making it more pleasant to walk and cycle to school.

The project is delivered by Sustrans, funded by the Road Safety Trust, with capital funding and in-kind support from Devon County Council. The overall aim of the project is to seek innovative, low cost solutions to address road safety concerns.

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