Rebuilding a Greener Hackney: first of 40 new School Streets introduced
The first of 40 new Hackney School Streets have been introduced today (7 September), as part of plans to rebuild a greener Hackney after the pandemic and support people to walk and cycle as public transport capacity remains low.
Roads outside 30 schools will be closed to motor traffic from today for an hour at opening and closing times to help parents, children and staff maintain social distancing as they walk and cycle to school.
School Streets at a further 10 schools are set to follow in autumn. Collectively, the new School Streets will help over 14,000 children walk and cycle to school.
The School Streets are being introduced as part of a radical plan to rebuild a greener Hackney after the pandemic - securing some of the benefits, such as cleaner air, less traffic and increased walking and cycling, seen in lockdown.
Parents and staff from each school, and residents and businesses around each School Street will be able to have their say online or in writing as schemes are implemented, with comments taken into account before any decision is made on whether or not to make them permanent. Letters are being distributed to all residents and businesses around each School Street, outlining how they can have their say.
Nine School Streets are already in place in Hackney, with evidence from the first four showing that traffic reduced by an average of 68%, the number of children cycling to school increased by 51% and vehicle emissions outside schools (NOx, PM10 and PM2.5) are down by 74% as a result of the schemes.
The rollout of School Streets to 40 new schools follows the Council’s successful bid for £350,000 from Transport for London’s Streetspace programme. The Council will implement the scheme, contributing an additional £100,000 towards the project.
With children returning to school this week, it’s more important than ever that we support them to walk and cycle and maintain social distancing at the school gates, especially as public transport capacity remains significantly lower than before lockdown.
Our rollout of School Streets to almost all primaries in the borough represents the biggest School Streets programme in the country, and will help 14,000 more children walk and cycle to school. It’s part of our set of radical measures to rebuild a greener Hackney in the wake of the pandemic, securing some of the benefits that lockdown saw - like cleaner air, less traffic and more active travel - and tackling the road safety and air quality crises we already faced in Hackney before the pandemic struck.
We announced in 2019 that it was our intention to extend the benefits of School Streets to as many of Hackney’s primary schools as possible and I’m delighted that we’re able to deliver on this commitment so swiftly. I’d like to thank all the parents and schools for their cooperation in helping to create a Hackney that puts the needs of children first.
Residents can find out more about the new School Streets, and other measures to rebuild a greener Hackney - including three new low traffic neighbourhoods in Hackney Downs, Hoxton West and London Fields - and have their say at: https://rebuildingagreenerhackney.commonplace.is/
The School Streets are being implemented under experimental traffic orders, which gives residents and businesses the chance to see how measures work in practice and have their say during implementation. This will be considered alongside traffic monitoring before any decision is made on whether or not to make them permanent.
The implementation of the Council’s measures to rebuild a greener borough is in line with Department for Transport guidance, which states that: ‘The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.’
Transport for London have also issued guidance to local authorities in their Streetspace for London plan, which has three main objectives: reallocation of road space, delivery of strategic cycle routes and low traffic neighbourhoods.
School Streets have been introduced at the following 30 schools on 7 September:
- Baden-Powell Primary School
- Betty Layward Primary School
- Colvestone Primary School
- Daubeney Primary School
- De Beauvoir Primary School and Our Lady and St Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School (joint scheme)
- Grazebrook Primary School
- Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School
- Hoxton Garden Primary School
- Kingsmead Primary School
- Lauriston School
- Mandeville Primary School
- Morningside, Primary School
- Mossbourne Parkside Academy
- Nightingale Primary School
- Northwold Primary School
- Orchard Primary School
- Parkwood Primary School
- Princess May Primary School
- Randal Cremer Primary School
- Rushmore Primary School
- Shacklewell Primary School
- Shoreditch Park Primary School
- St Dominic's Catholic Primary School
- St John and St James CofE Primary School
- St John of Jerusalem Church of England Primary School
- St Matthias Church of England Primary School
- St Paul's with St Michael's Primary School
- The Olive School, St John’s Church Road
- Thomas Fairchild Community School