Chester schools create art trail to Greenway

23 December 2020

Children at two schools with entrances to the Millennium Greenway in Chester have helped design colourful artworks as part of efforts to slow traffic in the area and encourage more walking and cycling to school along the traffic free path.

Pupils at the Arches Community Primary School and Newton Primary School worked with walking and cycling charity Sustrans and local artist Christine Holme of Poets in Paint to develop the art on the school street and on the Greenway. The project is funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

They helped to design a trail from the pedestrian crossing on Blacon Avenue, past the Arches Community Primary school gate, to the Greenway entrance. Other designs include a colourful entrance sign for the Greenway, and positive messages to encourage people to slow down.

At design workshops, organised by Sustrans, the children surveyed the streets and assessed how their school street could feel safer and more attractive for everyone. They also looked at what may be deterring families from using the Greenway for the school run.

Pupils highlighted safety and health issues such as too much parking, speeding traffic, air pollution and too many cars, which make them less likely to get active on their journeys.

They said that lack of pleasant places to relax on the Greenway and people going too fast on their bikes, stopped many children travelling along the popular path.

Giulia Colafrancesco, Community and Workplace Engagement Officer at Sustrans said: “We held design workshops with the children to look at how the street could be a more attractive place for them to walk and cycle to school. These new artworks help to link the schools with the Greenway and encourage everyone to share the path with care.

“The children have also suggested how their streets could be improved, such as by reducing traffic at peak times and reducing parking around the school gate.”

Nicky Johnson, Year six teacher at The Arches Primary School said: “The children have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in each phase of this fantastic project. A lot of the children walk to school, and wanted to create vibrant designs to brighten up other children's walk to school. They were delighted to see their designs replicated by the artist.”

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “This is a fantastic project with many school pupils getting involved and sharing their creative ideas to improve the overall look and feel of the path. 

“This will hopefully encourage more parents and children to choose this route to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school, helping to reduce congestion on the roads and improve air quality. Active travel provides a range of physical and mental health benefits for our children and helps set them up for a great day of learning in the classroom.”

For information on cycling, visit: Sustrans website or visit: iTravelSmart for details about cycle routes in the borough.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has declared a Climate Emergency in the borough and is committed to supporting projects that will help west Cheshire to become carbon neutral by 2045.

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