school streets closure
Outside Grafton Primary School on a bright cold November morning with Martin Nicholson, Headteacher, and Cllr Margaret Mullane to see how the Safer School Streets pilot is going. Mr Nicholson said that the roads are less busy and safer for children, and local residents like the scheme. I am pleased with anything which reduces air pollution affecting all our health. Thank you to BeFirst for applying for the funds and to TfL and the Department for Transport for their much needed financial support.
news release 9 November 2020
A trial run of ‘Schools Streets’ around five Barking and Dagenham schools has started well, according to parents and teachers at Grafton Primary School.
The Council scheme – which aims to reduce traffic danger at the school gates at pick up and drop off times – was introduced to five schools in the borough on Monday 2 November.
The School Streets restrict motorised traffic on weekdays during term time only, 8am to 9.15am and between 2.45pm and 4pm, effectively creating a pedestrian and cycle zone in front of the school gates during peak periods.
Barking and Dagenham Councillors, Evelyn Carpenter and Margaret Mullane this week visited Grafton Primary School to gauge the reaction of parents and teachers.
Councillor Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, said: “We’re testing the School Streets at five schools to see if we can make it safer for children to get to and from school during peak periods. Our aim was to reduce traffic caused by non-residents’ vehicles in order to provide more space for social distancing and to reduce congestion and pollution.
“So, it was important for us to see how it was going and I’m delighted that overwhelmingly the staff and parents welcomed the idea, even many of those who used to drive.”
Councillor Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety member, agreed, and said: “Many of the parents we spoke to commented on how much calmer the school run was without all the traffic. And, local residents also told us that they liked it because it improved access to their homes and alleviated some of their parking problems.”
Mr Nicholson, Headteacher at Grafton Primary, said: “I’m delighted with the scheme because the safety of our children has always been our number one concern, and this is even more important during the current pandemic. The School Street has massively reduced congestion at the school gate so that we can all socially distance more effectively. We are really encouraged that parents are reducing the use of their cars during these peak times”.
Claire Hunt, whose girls attend Grafton Primary School, said: “It used to be chaos along here – you couldn’t see anything but cars in front of the school gate. Now, it’s just a nice pleasant journey and it was easy for my girls to cross the road with their bikes without worrying that the cars are driving at them.”
The trial will last 18 months and the council plans to consult residents throughout the trial before any decision is made on whether to make the measures permanent.
School Streets are enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras which check if a vehicle has a School Street permit. If a vehicle enters a School Street during the restricted times without a permit, a penalty charge notice is automatically issued.
Carers, teachers and school staff, and businesses and residents within the School Streets area, are given a free permit to leave and return without a penalty. Blue badge holders who require access can also apply for a permit. Residents’ parking is unaffected.
The School Streets Programme was funded by central Government as part of the Covid-19 emergency street improvements programme.
The other schools with School Streets are Dorothy Barley Junior, Manor Junior, Eastbury Community School Primary and Becontree Primary.
For more information about School Streets, and to see some of the interviews with parents and teachers, please visit oneboroughvoice.lbbd.gov.uk/school-streets.