More school streets coming to Woodberry Down, Stamford Hill and Cazenove
- Credit: Hackney council
Six 'school streets' will be trialled in Hackney from next month to create a safer environment outside gates.
Hackney Council has voted to add the initiative to Woodberry Down, Stamford Hill and Cazenove wards. More than 40 have already been introduced since autumn 2020.
School streets launched as a green post-pandemic programme to close roads outside schools for an hour at opening and closing times.
Proponents say they aim to improve air quality and road safety around school gates, however critics say such moves will simply create more traffic and congestion elsewhere.
The council's environment spokesman Cllr Mete Coban said: “The benefits of school streets are clear - with big increases in walking and cycling to school, and reductions in emissions outside schools."
The council hopes new School Streets will replicate the success of its School Streets pilot, which saw a 51 per cent increase in cycling to school, a 30pc increase in walking and a 74pc reduction in tailpipe emissions.
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However, low traffic measures, which include school streets and traffic filters ,have been met with protest and criticism by some in Hackney.
Niall Crowley, one of the organisers of a group set up to oppose LTNs, Horrendous Hackney Road Closures said: "So-called 'School Streets' are more about demonising parents, making the council look good, and doing absolutely nothing for children.
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"Children play outside for at least an hour a day, often surrounded by roads, so how do School Streets help? And if you stop parents dropping their children off outside school then they’ll have to drop them round the corner.
"It’s just tokenistic nonsense."
Meanwhile, local volunteer-led ambulance service Hatzola has been given a full exemption from School Street restrictions.
Registered local school transport providers are also eligible for exemptions.
Upcoming School Streets at Skinners Academy and Sir Thomas Abney, Holmleigh, Springfield, Woodberry Down, Jubilee and Simon Marks primary schools will be implemented on June 21.
Residents can have their say online from June 21 at https://rebuildingagreenerhackney.commonplace.is/ or by writing to ‘Freepost Streetscene’.
The council will take residents’ views into account, alongside traffic and air quality data, when making a decision on whether or not to make trials permanent.
Residents living inside the zone can apply for an exemption for their vehicle at hackney.gov.uk/school-streets.