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Herzele in Belgium Creates a Safer Commute for Children Through the 'School Street' Pilot Scheme

Updated: Jun 6, 2023


School Street Team, Poster and Dashboard Map

Monday morning, April 17, 2023, was a shock for many children, in the positive sense of the word. At the start of this school day, the Burgemeester Matthysstraat was no longer a busy street with dangerous traffic situations for school-going youth: it became a school street.


A school street is a street in the vicinity of a school that is closed to all motorized traffic for half an hour at the beginning and end of the school day, except for emergency services. Residents with a pass are also allowed to leave the school street at a walking pace, but always give priority to cyclists and pedestrians. In concrete terms, the Burgemeester Matthysstraat will be closed on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:15 am to 8:45 am and from 3:20 pm to 3:50 pm. On Wednesday, it is from 8:15 am to 8:45 am and from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm. Thanks to this new measure, traffic chaos in the school environment is reduced, and the safety of the children is increased at the beginning and end of each school day. This is a pilot project that will run until 16 June 2023 and will be evaluated afterwards.


A safe school and living environment are important. Since March 10, 2023, about 20 residents from the centre of Herzele have therefore had a Telraam package, a smart traffic counter that can count cars, pedestrians, cyclists and heavy traffic. In addition, air quality measurements will also be carried out this month. Both types of measurements fit within the European project COMPAIR. COMPAIR's challenge is to improve air quality by increasing knowledge about the effects of poor air quality and what we can do about it ourselves.


“The fact that Burgemeester Matthysstraat is now also a school street means that the effect of a school street can be measured. A first in Belgium,” says Lieven Raes of Digital Flanders, the agency of the Flemish government that supports government agencies in their digitisation.

Thanks to the various measurements, the Herzele local authority gains insight into the traffic and air quality in the centre of Herzele. “The aim of the project is to convince residents, visitors and school-going young people to think about how we move around and whether this could not be done in a different way. We are certainly curious about the results”, said alderman for Mobility Ronny Herremans.


More info about the school street in Herzele: https://www.herzele.be/schoolstraat


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