How does a School Street work?
The streets around school entrances become a pedestrian and cycle zone for a short period of time before and after school. Signs at the entrances to the scheme inform drivers of the restrictions. Some schemes are enforced by physical barriers, others have an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera to check if vehicles are permitted to be driven in the area. Residents and certain blue badge holders can apply for permits. Non-registered vehicles will not be permitted to enter the scheme during the times of operation. They will receive a Penalty Charge Notice in the camera enforced schemes.
What times are the restrictions in force?
The scheme operates for set periods before entry and after exit times of the school. The length of each restriction is usually between 30-60 mins, often longer in the afternoon when schools may have staggered finish times.
The times are clearly displayed on the Pedestrian and Cycle Zone signs at the entrance to the School Street.
It will only operate during school term time, according to Ealing Council’s term dates and will not be closed in the school holidays or at weekends.
What legal process has the council followed in implementing this scheme?
The 2020 School Streets were implemented using an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO). An experimental traffic order is a legal framework which imposes traffic and parking restrictions such as road closures, on specific streets, for up to 18 months. Unlike our normal schemes, they do not require public consultation prior to the making of an ETO and the statutory consultation usually takes place during the first six months after the scheme is installed.
By nature of the ETO the public have had the opportunity to experience the scheme and feedback on the new road layout during the experimental period. This allowed people to experience the new measure to fully see how it works. They provided feedback to contribute to the council’s decision whether or not to make it a permanent scheme.
Future schemes will be implemented with a Traffic Management Order (TMO) that require a 21 day statutory consultation period.
This is such an unusual form of restriction, will the signage need to be large and prominent, therefore unsightly?
The signage will be kept to a minimum, with a pair of signs being erected only at the entrances to the scheme and advanced warning signs where drivers may need to change their planned route.
Were other options explored to improve the traffic problem and children’s safety before introducing the School Streets scheme?
Schools chosen to participate in these schemes have already tried other means of improving the road environment around the school gates. One of the selection criteria for this programme is that schools have to have achieved, or be working towards, a TfL STARS accreditation. They will have tried publicity, training and promotion activities to improve the situation, often with limited success.
Other traffic management options, like extensive parking restrictions, may have been considered, but to introduce them on a permanent 24/7 basis would penalise those residents living in the affected streets based on an issue that occurs only during school term times at drop-off and pick-up times. It would also not discourage or penalise parking on school zig zag crossings.
The School Streets project provides an opportunity to address concerns raised around school parking and congestion, whilst encouraging and enabling alternative and sustainable forms of travel to school.
How are they enforced?
Some School Streets are enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued for any vehicle that does not have approval to access the School Street.
Other schemes are enforced by a physical barrier that is in place for the duration of the agreed times. Volunteers from the school or community will ask drivers of unauthorised vehicles not to enter the area. Advanced warning signs are installed. The volunteers will move the barrier for permitted vehicles. View information on School Street permits.