The Public Works Authority (Ashghal), as part of School Zone Safety Programme, has completed the improvement of roads surrounding 375 schools, covering around 75% of the total number of schools.
Announcing this Saturday, the authority said work is under way to complete the implementation of safety schemes around 65 schools.
Ashghal stressed that it prioritises the programme to enhance traffic safety in the surrounding areas within the framework of the implementation of the National Traffic Safety Strategy (2013-2022), in order to reduce traffic congestion in these areas, separate pedestrian and vehicle traffic, improve temporary unpaved roads and ensure the safety of students and parents upon arrival at or departure from school.
Some of the safety-enhanced school zones
Priority was given to 504 schools across Qatar in co-ordination with the Ministry of Interior and the National Committee for Traffic Safety, based on a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to select school areas in need of development.
In addition to finalising designs for the surrounding roads of 23 schools, which are expected to get started as soon approvals are obtained from the entities concerned in the country, the designs of surrounding road schemes are in progress for another 40 schools, according to Ashghal.
In total, 503 out of 504 schools, or 99.8% of the schools, are listed in different treatment stages.
"Ashghal continues to implement a comprehensive and ongoing programme to enhance traffic safety in school-surrounding areas as part of the implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy, by improving road conditions and maximising safety," the statement noted.
Highlighting that road safety is the main objective, Ashghal said the School Zone Safety Programme aims to ensure the safety of students and parents upon their arrival at or departure from schools and to ease traffic congestion which is seen next to schools and which exacerbates due to the lack of parking spots, sidewalks and footpaths.
Based on a study by the Road Operation and Maintenance department at Ashghal, the designs, which will develop traffic safety standards in school zones, are set according to the results of the study and adjusted in line with the school administration's recommendations.
Implementation of the plans follows to establish safe roads in the school zones, providing car parks and building medians and small roundabouts in order to manage traffic flow in those areas.
These works also include putting up a sufficient number of directional signs and road markings near schools.
Moreover, the speed limit in school zones will be set at 30km/h and speed bumps will be installed in order to reduce vehicular speed.
In order to ensure pedestrians' safety, Ashghal said its team creates safe pedestrian paths for them and for people with special needs, noting that the enhancement and maintenance of these walkways will also be ensured.
In addition, safe entrances to schools, which overlook main streets, are provided as well and bright-coloured rumble strips are placed to alert drivers when arriving at or leaving a school district.
Also, clear warning signals will be put up on the roads leading to schools.
The completion of the integrated development works for every school needs about three months, preceded by several stages of studying and evaluating safety elements, which include the determination of the entrances and exits of the roads leading to the school in order to place the directional signs within walking distance of the institution.
These are in addition to setting standards, technical foundations and general requirements for the establishment of parking lots and various stopping points to facilitate passenger drop-off and pick-up and determine pedestrian crossing sites.
As part of the programme's implementation, Ashghal has co-ordinated with the administrations of the schools concerned in order to determine the safety requirements in school zones before the designs are finalised and the implementation starts.
Further, all safety elements will be ensured at the schools that are currently being built or those which will be built in the future.
The list of schools included in the programme to promote traffic safety around schools is increasing at both monthly and annual rates, from 276 schools in 2012 (beginning of the programme) to 504 in 2019, and the number is rising.
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