Pupils at Stretford Grammar School have enjoyed a week of different cycling and walking events to celebrate the opening of the 'Links to school' scheme along the Bridgewater Way.
The ‘Links to School’ project aims to create new and improved links for pupils to walk and cycle to school. The scheme has been jointly funded by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans, Trafford Council, The Peel Group and the Bridgewater Canal Trust. More than £800,000 has been spent on improvements made to the surrounding streets, footpaths and canal towpath over the last year.
Improvements include a resurfaced Bridgewater Canal towpath with seating and information boards, as well as new signage, Toucan crossings, shared use footways and a new cycling route through Longford Park.
To mark the opening the pupils at the school were able to take part in a number of sessions organised by the Council and the School to make use of the new links. Trafford Wheelers visited the school with specially adapted bikes and Seamon’s cycling club ran a roller racing event on fixed wheel track bikes. Further activities included a guided walk and bike ride around the improved routes, and the week ended with a fun, pedal powered ‘smoothie bike’ session from local organisation The Cycle Works.
Executive Councillor for Highways and Transport Alan Mitchell said: "By improving links to schools we are encouraging pupils and parents, not only to leave the car at home and adopt a greener way to get to school, but also to take part in different activities which make use of the new routes. This will not only help Trafford become an even greener borough but also encourages health and fitness."
Louise Morrissey, Director of Land and Planning at Peel said: “The ‘Links to School’ project is a great way to encourage children to walk and cycle to school. We hope that the Bridgewater Way towpath work will help to move children away from main roads and provide a safe route to and from school.”
Michael Mullins, Head teacher at Stretford Grammar, said: “We are really pleased with the project as it has provided high quality, sustainable travel routes into school as a real alternative to car travel. The wider leisure and community benefits of these improvements can also be seen.”
Dee Beckett from The Cycle Works said: "The smoothie bike is a real crowd puller wherever we go and a great way for the school to get the message across about the importance of combining healthy eating and exercise, even the staff had a go!!"