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

The new School Streets are just one of the measures the Council has developed to encourage more residents to walk and cycle and protect people from an increase in traffic and lockdown eases. The Council has already introduced road closures at Broadway Market, Barnabas Road, Ashenden Road, Gore Road and Ufton Road. 

It is now developing a post-lockdown recovery transport strategy, and further measures could include: 

  • A significant number of additional road closures to help support residents to walk and cycle
  • Measures to improve strategic cycle routes through the borough
  • Schemes in two of the borough’s town centres to aid social distancing and support people to walk, cycle and shop safely
  • Expanded road safety programmes and cycle training for local residents 

The Council will be releasing its full strategy over the coming weeks. All of the measures will be introduced using Experimental Traffic Orders, allowing residents to have their say about how they are operating, which the Council will take into account before deciding whether to make them permanent. 

More information:

Ten schools in Hackney already have a School Street: St John the Baptist School, Gayhurst Community School, Millfields Community School, Tyssen Community School, London Fields Primary School, Southwold Primary School, Sebright Primary School, St Mary’s Church of England Primary School and William Patten Primary School. 

40 additional schools are set to have a School Street by September: Baden-Powell Primary School, Benthal Primary School, Betty Layward Primary School, Colvestone Primary School, Daubeney Primary School, De Beauvoir Primary, Grazebrook Primary School, Harrington Hill Primary School, Holmleigh Primary School, Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, Hoxton Garden Primary School, Jubilee 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, Our Lady and St Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School, Parkwood Primary School, Princess May Primary School, Queensbridge Primary School, Randal Cremer Primary School, Rushmore Primary School, Shacklewell Primary School, Shoreditch Park / New Britannia School, Simon Marks Primary School, Sir Thomas Abney Primary School, Springfield Community Primary School, St Dominic's Catholic Primary School, St John and St James CofE Primary School, St John of Jerusalem Church of England Primary, St Matthias Church of England Primary School, St Paul's with St Michael's Primary School, St Scholastica Roman Catholic Primary School, The Olive School, Thomas Fairchild Community School, and Woodberry Down Primary School

In addition, pavement widening measures to aid social distancing will be implemented at Hackney New School.