WEARSIDE is set to share in a multimillion-pound boost to slash the number of cars on the city’s roads during the school run.
Transport Minister Norman Baker announced the Department for Transport has earmarked up to £5million for the scheme.
It hopes to get more Sunderland children walking or cycling to school.
The project is among 27 successful bids receiving funding across England today.
Work is already under way in the city to encourage more parents to ditch the car and turn the school run into a school walk.
A group at Sunderland’s St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy, in Thornhill Terrace, has designed and produced a walking guide for schoolmates and the new Year 7s who will join the school in September.
As well as showing the best walking, cycling and public transport routes to school, the guide also highlights places of interest the children can look out for along the way, making their journey more interesting.
“The schemes we are funding will improve life for people in the North East and show cutting carbon and boosting economic growth can go hand in hand,” said Mr Baker.
“Our investment in these schemes shows that we are serious about funding infrastructure where there is a clear business case for doing so. The money we are putting into these projects will unlock much greater economic benefits for communities as well as improving the environment. It’s a win-win for the region.”
The Tyne and Wear scheme is backed by all five metropolitan councils – Sunderland, Gateshead, Newcastle and North and South Tyneside – as well as Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive Nexus.
The impact of the “school run” on congestion is underlined by the fact peak journey times drop by more than a quarter during holidays.
The five councils will work with outside organisations such as Sustrans, which created the C2C cycle route, and national walking charity Living Streets, as well as health trusts across the region to promote the healthy living message.
The cash, backed with a further £5million from the councils and their partners, will be used to improve cycle and pedestrian access to schools and colleges, with new cycle routes and crossings, as well as make grants to schools to provide extra bike storage and even tools and spare parts.
•The Walk to School campaign has been flying the flag for walking to school since 1995.
•It now reaches more than 1.9million children each year.
•The Walk to School campaign’s aim is simple: to encourage all parents, children and young people to make walking to school part of their daily routine.
•It’s aim is that every child who can walk to school does so.