PMC identifies 19 school priority zones, releases guidelines under ‘School Travel Improvement Plan’
Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar on Friday released the guidelines. To begin with, they will be implemented in five school priority zones
PUNE: To help create a safer environment for children during their daily commute to and from school, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has identified 19 ‘school priority zones’ and come up with guidelines for these zones under the ‘School Travel Improvement Plan’. The guidelines define suitable infrastructure and measures for children to travel safely and independently to and from school. Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar on Friday released the guidelines. To begin with, they will be implemented in five school priority zones.
Vikas Dhakane, additional municipal commissioner, said, “School children face various issues in mobility such as unsafe walking and cycling infrastructure, parking encroachments, lack of traffic enforcement around school zones, and anti-social activities in the vicinity. The parents also face severe challenges while picking up and dropping off their children. To address this declining mobility of school children, the PMC came up with the idea of a dedicated programme for this vulnerable group and framed guidelines under the ‘School Travel Improvement Plan’.”
Sahebrao Dandge, superintendent engineer of the road department, said, “The aim of the plan is to improve safety, accessibility, inclusive development and better enforcement within school and pre-school zones. Through this, independent mobility of children and increased use of non-motorised transport (NMT) and public transit modes can be achieved. The perception of caregivers accompanying younger children to and from school will also improve.”
As per the guidelines, a ‘school priority zone’ is the immediate area around the school within which most students are present as they commute between school and home either on foot/cycle or via public transport. These zones see high footfalls of children and their caregivers, especially during school hours in the morning, afternoon and evening. Under the guidelines, 100 metres on either side of the school entrance falls under the ‘school priority zone’. Whereas ‘schools’ are defined as various types of educational centres (kindergarten, anganwadis, primary, secondary and higher secondary) serving children of all ages. Pune being an educational hub, multiple schools are located close to each other forming ‘clusters’ which see high volumes of school children and school buses/vans during certain hours of the day. Demarcating these areas as ‘school priority zones’ is essential to plan suitable infrastructure and enable children travel to and from school safely and independently.