Traffic to be banned outside 40 schools as part of emergency plan

School Streets – where motor traffic is banned from outside schools at opening and closing times – will be introduced at almost every primary school in Hackney by September, as part of the Council’s radical plan to aid social distancing, support walking and cycling and protect people from an increase in traffic as lockdown eases. 

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. 

School Streets help to reclaim roads outside schools from motor traffic, aid social distancing, improve air quality at the school gates, and make it easier for children to walk and cycle to school.

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. 

Hackney Council was one of the first local authorities in the country to introduce School Streets, and has since created a toolkit that other local authorities are now using to implement their own.

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
We’re under no illusions about the scale of intervention required to support walking and cycling, and protect people from increased traffic as lockdown eases. If we’re to prevent the secondary effects of coronavirus from exacerbating the existing issues of road safety, deadly air pollution, and the transport emissions driving the climate emergency, then we have to act now.

In our 2018 Manifesto, we committed to deliver 12 new School Streets. I’m delighted that we’re now able to commit to deliver 40 this year, which will improve air quality at the school gates and provide greater safety for children walking and cycling to school. These proposals follow the recent introduction of pavement widening measures and the closure of roads to motor vehicles at six locations as part of our work to radically humanise our streets for the benefits of residents and the broader environment.
Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner
With limited capacity on public transport due to social distancing rules and increasing numbers of children returning to schools, it's really important for everyone's safety that as many of these journeys as possible are instead made either on foot or by bike. Too often, roads around schools at drop off and pick up times are dominated by cars and our investment with Hackney in School Streets will make it easier and safer for people to choose greener, healthier ways of getting to school.
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner
The scheme has made a significant change to mornings and afternoons, where children can now approach the gate by foot or on bike and not have to worry about speeding drivers knocking them down. It makes for a much calmer start and end to the school day.
Stephen O’Brien, Headteacher at Southwold Primary School