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Closing roads to traffic at school drop off and pick up time (school streets)

School streets is a scheme to close roads outside schools, to favour pedestrians and cyclists at school start and finish times.

The aim of the scheme is to:

  • tackle congestion
  • improve air quality at the school gates
  • make it easier and safer to walk and cycle to school
  • create a friendlier and calmer environment for everyone.

How the schools streets scheme works

  1. The street directly outside a school will be closed for a short time when children are arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon.
  2. The street will become a pedestrian and cycle zone at these set times.
  3. Motorised vehicles will not be allowed to enter the street between these times unless they have been granted an exemption. The aim of the scheme is to keep exemptions to an absolute minimum to improve road safety for everyone in the vicinity of the school gates.
  4. We will work closely with schools to determine where the road closure starts and ends (the entire street may not necessarily need to be closed).
  5. Residents and businesses will be consulted by letter and given the opportunity to raise any concerns.
A huge thank you for coming to support the school play street today and thanks to everyone at the Council for the help in making this happen. It was a great success and the children (and parents) all had a brilliant time – lots of great feedback already!
James, School Governor, Sandhurst School

Timings of road closures

School streets will come into effect at different times for each school. Each road will be clearly signposted with the closure times clearly displayed. Typical closure times are 8–9.15am and 3–4pm during school term. The closures will not be in operation during the weekend, school holidays or bank holidays. In addition, the school street will not operate on teacher training days, or any other day that children are not in school.

Enforcing the road closure

We’re currently looking into the feasibility of using physical barriers or CCTV for each of the pilot school streets depending on local circumstances.

If we use physical barriers, the school would be responsible for opening and closing the collapsible bollards at the times displayed. Banners and lamppost signs will also highlight the street has been adopted as a school street. If we use CCTV, it would be set up and operated by us.

Cars parked in a closed road

If your vehicle is already parked in the street before the times of operation, you will not be able to move it until the road has reopened, unless you have an exemption.

Emergency access

If a school street has a physical barrier in place at the time of operation, drivers may need to collect a key from the school office to enter or leave the area in an emergency. In some cases, some residents with accessibility needs may be given a key. Emergency vehicles will have a standard key.

How we choose schools for the pilot

During the pilot phase of the programme, we will prioritise schools that meet the following criteria for selection.

  • The school must have shown a commitment to increasing the numbers of children walking, cycling or scooting to school.
  • The schools must have a road outside their entrance that we consider suitable for closure during the set times.
  • The school should be actively engaged in the school travel planning process.
  • Depending on the number of schools that meet the criteria, we may apply further prioritisation criteria.

We will select schools using a prioritisation process that will consider at a range of factors, such as:

  • collision data
  • air quality levels
  • traffic volumes and speeds
  • feedback from the community
  • level of school engagement.

After the pilot

We will assess the pilot school streets using:

  • school travel plan data collected though the annual hands-up travel surveys
  • data from monitoring the numbers of vehicles parking and passing through the street before the closure is introduced
  • traffic data collected and monitored on adjacent roads.

If the pilot is successful subject to a prioritisation process

If the pilot school streets are successful, we will make them permanent by introducing a permanent traffic management order. We will also aim to make the scheme available to schools in other parts of the borough outside the healthy neighbourhood areas from 2020.

In addition to the criteria listed above, we would prefer to work with schools who are enthusiastic and engaged in the school travel planning process. These schools will be better placed to complement the closures with other supporting initiatives to help encourage more walking and cycling to school. Those who have shown active participation in the school play street programme will be more likely to be selected.

Schools that cannot take part

Unfortunately, schools with entrances on A-roads or B-roads (for example the A205 or B218) are unsuitable for closure as a school street. However, these schools can still take part in the school travel planning programme and other initiatives.

Find out more

If your school is interested in finding out more about the school streets programme, email activetravel@lewisham.gov.uk