Richmond Council has used emergency powers to ensure that three local primary schools will be the first in the borough to receive ‘School Street’ status in time for the resumption of teaching in June.
School Streets ensure a safer space for children around their school, contribute to reduced local pollution and encourage parents and children to opt for sustainable travel methods, like walking and cycling.
A School Street is where a road(s) around a school temporarily closes to all motor vehicles except those of the immediate road residents; thereby becoming a pedestrian and cycle zone during the school’s opening and closing times.
Prior to Covid19, the Council was working with Twickenham Primary Academy (GEMS), Orleans Primary School and St Stephen’s Church of England’s Primary School, on plans to introduce the initiative outside of their schools. The intended consultation with residents was put on hold during the Pandemic.
As the schools prepare to welcome back more pupils from 1 June, Richmond Council believes the measure is more important than ever; providing safer spaces outside schools and discouraging unnecessary car usage.
Therefore, the three initial schemes will launch in the roads outside of the schools, with effect from the 1 June. The schools will manage the operation of barriers and will be encouraging pupils, parents and carers to travel to school by active means (walking, scooting and cycling) instead of coming by car.
These three school streets will be reviewed during the summer holidays and if considered a success, Richmond Council will then conduct a full consultation to consider permanently introducing these schemes.
Other primary schools across the borough are invited to contact Richmond Council to ensure further schemes are ready to be deployed across the borough in time for the start of the new academic year (September 2020).
Cllr Alexander Ehmann the Chair of Richmond’s Highways and Air Quality Committee, said:
“Using emergency powers, and as part of our Post Covid Transport Strategy, we are delivering the very first Schools Streets in our borough. These important measures will help support social distancing, encourage active travel, aid children’s health and uplift road safety around the school site.
“We hope to add to these three School Streets soon. I encourage pupils. parents, teachers and Governing Bodies to engage with us, so that more children can benefit from the roll-out of this exciting initiative.”
– from a Richmond Council press release - 28 May 2020