School Streets make it easier for kids and their parents to choose to walk or cycle to school. A School Street Scheme allows only pedestrians and cyclists to use the street outside a school during pick-up and drop-off times – removing cars.
A number of School Streets have been set up in Hackney, including ones at London Fields school and at Millfields Community School. The reduction in pollution is tangible, together with deceased danger and noise. Walking to school along a School Street is altogether safer and more pleasant – kids and parents can speak rather than shout and they typically arrive at school in a calmer state of mind.
Hackney Council have details of their schemes here
How to implement a School Street:
Hackney have been introducing School streets since 2017. There are five currently in operation, and the Mayor has promised an additional 12 School Streets by the end of the 2017-21 electoral term. The Council’s commitment to the scheme is extremely positive, and Hackney are leading the way for other Councils to follow. If you’re keen to instigate a scheme at your school, there are several steps that may help.
- Speak to parents. How much recognition is there among parents of the issues of pollution, obesity and congestion? Speak to the PTA or equivalent.
- Speak to your headteacher, as the support of the school is very important. The school doesn’t have to do anything to implement the scheme, but their support is essential
- Speak to your local councillors to make it known that there is support for a School Street. Going to the councillor’s surgery hours is more effective than an email. While the Council have committed to implementing 12 School Streets in 4 years, if there is local demand and they prove popular, Councillors would push for schools in their ward to be included, and to accelerate the roll-out beyond the existing commitment.
While Hackney are currently in the lead in implementing School Streets, the concept originated in Edinburgh, and schemes have also been run in Islington. It can work anywhere – it would be great to see the initiative rolled out across London and the rest of the country, with councils vying to be the most progressive.
As well as the steps above, you will need to contact your council to ask them to introduce School Streets in the borough. The responsible Councillor at Hackney is the Cabinet Member for Health and Transport, but in other boroughs you may need to speak to the Councillor for education or environment. You may need to introduce them to the School Streets concept. Hackney Council are putting together a pack aimed at traffic management teams/Council officers setting out the technical requirements for implementing School Streets, as it requires implementing a time-limited restrictions.
We’d be happy to answer questions – get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
We are delighted to see school streets starting to take off as an idea across London.