At the time of entry to class, the street left to the children in front of two schools

Returning from the holidays, the alarm clock was surely a bit spicy this Monday morning for the children. But in front of the Gantelles school, in the Maurepas district of Rennes, the atmosphere was most serene on this back-to-school day. Ditto in front of the Joseph-Lotte school group, in the Saint-Martin district, where no honk or car parked hastily disturbed the arrival of schoolchildren.

Since Monday morning, these two establishments have been experimenting with the “school street”, also called “children’s street” in other cities such as Grenoble, Lille or Paris. Every morning of the week, as well as Wednesday noon, the street in front of these two schools in Rennes will be closed to traffic for thirty minutes until the summer. An initiative which aims, according to Valérie Faucheux, assistant for mobility and travel at the city of Rennes, “to ensure the safety and tranquility of children and parents in their travels”.

“The street is still nicer that way”

It is to Anatole, a pupil of CM1, that we owe this initiative. “I come to school by bike and my parents are always afraid that I will be run over,” says the boy, forced to zigzag each morning in the flood of cars parked in double line. Submitted within the framework of the participatory budget of the city of Rennes, his project for pedestrian streets in front of schools quickly aroused the support of Internet users before being validated by the city.

Barriers have been installed on both sides of the street to block cars. – J. Gicquel / 20 Minutes

In front of the Gantelles school, two barriers have been installed to block cars between 8:20 a.m. and 8:50 a.m. take this axis every morning. Coming by bike, balance bike or scooter, some children and their parents enjoy a street that is safe and just for them. “If we want children to be independent in a city, they must already be able to go to school safely,” says Lucile Koch, municipal councilor responsible for the child-sized city.

Other “school streets” could see the light of day at the start of the school year

The many children making the trip on foot have a little more difficulty in changing their habits. “You know you don’t have to be on the sidewalk,” Valérie Faucheux reminds them. You can also walk in the middle of the road because cars are blocked. Surprised for some by the barriers, although they have been informed, parents dropping off their children by car are invited to park a little further. And everyone accepts without flinching.

“It is by changing behaviors that we will be able to develop this generation of bicycles”, assures Valérie Faucheux, seeing in this “school street” system a means of developing sports practice among the youngest but also of fighting against air pollution around schools. At the end of these two and a half months of testing in front of these two schools, a report will be drawn up this summer. But it’s a safe bet that new “school streets” will flourish in Rennes next school year.

source site