Islington Council rolls out school streets programme to 80 per cent of primary schools

Pupils at Winton Primary School celebrate Islington’s 10th School Street, which was launched in June

Pupils at Winton Primary School celebrate Islingtons 10th School Street, which was launched in June 2019. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Islington Council

Islington Council is accelerating the rollout of its school streets programme, with 80 per cent of the borough’s primary schools set to benefit before the end of the year.

The 26 new school streets will be introduced as part of the council’s wider efforts to create people-friendly streets, improve air quality, and enable social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, streets outside schools are closed during pick up and drop off times in term time, and vehicles are not permitted to enter during the times of operation unless they have an exemption.

School street restrictions reduce traffic outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times, and create a safer environment for children by reducing road danger and improving air quality.

They also encourage cycling and walking to and from school, enabling young people and their parents to keep fit and healthy. Hackney Council first came up with the idea of “school streets” in 2017, and Islington followed suit with its first school street in November 2018, and has since rolled it out to a further 12 schools.

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The number will triple by the end of the year to 39.

Speaking at a live question time session on Facebook three weeks ago, council leader Richard Watts said: “I’m a passionate supporter of school streets and my own kids go to a school where there’s a school street at the moment and it’s made a massive difference.

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“We are hoping to get pretty much every street where a school street is viable, given the nature of the road its on, done by the end of the academic year, so there will be a major roll out by September when the vast majority of kids will be starting to go back to school. It’s really important that cars don’t become the default method in terms of transport. “The challenges are massive clearly, and we are trying to create “people friendly” streets, with wider pavements, and pop-up cycle lanes on our major roads, so there’s an awful lot going on.”

The rollout of people-friendly streets will help Islington achieve its plan to be a net-zero carbon borough by 2030.

Consultation letters will soon be sent out to those living near the affected schools, and the new school streets will be installed under 18-month experimental traffic orders.

After 12 months a further consultation will be held on whether they should remain in place permanently.

The council also plans to explore the feasibility of expanding the programme to secondary schools.

The earmarked schools are: Blessed Sacrament Primary School, The Children’s Upper House School, Copenhagen Primary School, Dania School, Gillespie Primary School, The Gower School, Grafton Primary School, Hargrave Park Primary School, Highbury Quadrant Primary School, Hungerford Primary School, Laycock Primary School, New North Academy, New River College Primary & The Bridge School, Pooles Park Primary School, Prior Weston Primary School and Children’s Centre, Sacred Heart Primary School, St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) CofE Primary School, St John’s Highbury Vale CofE Primary School, St Jude and St Paul’s CofE Primary School, St Mary Magdalene Academy, St Mary’s CofE Primary School, St Paul’s Steiner School, Thornhill Primary School, Tufnell Park Primary School, Vittoria Primary School and Whitehall Park School.

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