One quarter of London's morning peak hour traffic is made up of families on the school run. In Ealing, 84% of primary school aged children live within one mile of their school. This distance takes approximately 20 minutes to walk or five minutes to cycle. The health benefits of active travel are well documented. With 39% of Ealing's Year 6 pupils obese or overweight, it is more important than ever for children to be using active travel to get to school each day. Public Health England guidance recommends 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity for children of this age group. The school journey is a good way to help children achieve this using active travel. School Streets enable more children to choose active travel for their school journey. Ealing Council are working to deliver school streets, making active travel easier, safer and with better quality air for communities across the borough.
What is a School Street?
School Streets is a scheme where the streets near a school are closed to most traffic at school opening and closing times. Closing the streets to school and through traffic provides a low traffic area, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to use the road space and enable social distancing. School Streets help to achieve a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone using the streets whilst maintaining access for residents and businesses within the designated zone.
How will School Streets increase active travel?
The schools that are taking part are committed to encouraging walking, scooting and cycling for the school journey. They want to reduce car use, congestion and air pollution around their school to improve safety and health. They will support families to use active modes of transport to increase their physical activity and improve health.
How will School Streets support walking and cycling to school?
The scheme will provide a low traffic area, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to use the road space. A School Street will enable more children to travel safely to school, especially older more independent pupils who travel on their own and may be fearful of the volumes of traffic and normal congestion at the school gates.
What have we done so far?
Ealing's first School Street was launched at Perivale Primary and St John Fisher Catholic schools in September 2020. This scheme was developed in consultation with the school and local community, over a period of 18 months. Almost 80% of those consulted agreed or strongly agreed that the School Street was a good idea.
School streets were identified as a vital component of the COVID recovery by supporting the Government's recommendation to use active travel for the school journey. A further 11 schemes were delivered in November 2020, as part of Transport for London's (TFL) London Streetspace Programme (LSP), their emergency COVID-19 transport schemes.These schemes were delivered within a short time frame.
How will you know if the schemes have been successful?
The road should be visibly calmer, safer and cleaner during these times. Mode of travel data will be collected from the school's STARS Survey and compared before and after implementation. The school will update their STARS with information about the activities they have undertaken to support the aims of the School Street. The school community and local residents can also give their views on the scheme.
What is the decision on the future of the School Streets?
In May 2021 the council carried out a formal consultation of the Perivale and LSP School Streets with residents, businesses and the school communities. An independent evaluation of the schemes was undertaken and the results were presented to Cabinet. They decided to make 10 School Streets permanent and will consider redesigning two School Streets.
Who is paying for this?
Ealing Council's transport strategy funding is provided by Transport for London. This School Streets programme was originally developed in response to TfL's request to provide measures to increase active travel and enable social distancing. It is called the London Streetspace Programme (LSP).
The council will continue to deliver the Ealing School Streets programme with funding from TfL's Local Implementation Plan (LIP) and other sources as they become available.
Where can I find further information?
Please contact Ealing Council's school travel team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.