Hackney Council plans traffic ban outside 40 more primary schools
- Credit: Gary Manhine
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.
The council had previously planned to launch 17 school streets by 2022, but now it is consulting on plans to implement 40 within three months.
It says its “radical plan” to improve air quality will aid social distancing, support walking and cycling, and protect people from an increase in traffic as lockdown eases.
The council’s eco chief, Cllr Jon Burke, said: “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.”
The rollout will be funded with £350,000 from Transport for London’s streetspace programme, along with an additional £100,000 from the council.
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Ten school streets are already in place in Hackney, with evidence from the first four showing that traffic reduced by an average of 68 per cent, the number of children cycling to school increased by 51pc and vehicle emissions outside schools (NOx, PM10 and PM2.5) are down by 74pc as a result of the schemes.
Stephen O’Brien, headteacher at Southwold Primary School said: “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.”
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The council is developing a recovery transport strategy to encourage more residents to walk and cycle and protect people from an increase in traffic as lockdown eases.
It has already introduced road closures at Broadway Market, Barnabas Road, Ashenden Road, Gore Road and Ufton Road, and will soon announce more changes. All measures will be introduced using experimental traffic orders, allowing residents to have their say about how they are operating before they are made permanent.