The borough’s first ever School Streets are being unveiled this month as Ealing Council continues to work with local schools to give younger residents even more opportunities to walk and cycle in their local area.
School Streets are areas around schools with some restrictions on traffic at opening and closing times, making them pedestrian and cycle-only zones.
This helps to achieve a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone using the streets whilst maintaining access for residents and businesses within the designated zone, and all pedestrians and cyclists.
Perivale Primary and St John Fisher Catholic Primary will be the first schools to have permanent School Streets, with automatic number plate recognition cameras to help manage the set-up and there will be helpful signage on show to let drivers know about the new arrangements.
Facing a climate emergency
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council is set to officially open the first School Street at Perivale Primary this week (Friday 4 September 2020). Councillor Bell said: “We are facing a climate emergency and one of our key commitments is to improve air quality across the borough, which will ultimately save lives. I’m therefore delighted to see local schools adopting School Streets which help create a safer environment for pupils to walk, cycle and scoot to school.
“School Streets will hopefully contribute to a more environmentally-friendly borough and ease the pressure on public transport as we continue to take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We want to ensure everyone has the best possible opportunity to choose active travel over getting in their car, particularly as it has been shown that a healthy, active lifestyle can help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.”
A further 14 schools across the borough are participating in temporary School Streets. These will be managed by the schools themselves, with volunteer stewards using moveable lightweight barriers.
Returning to school
Pupils are returning to school this month and the council has been working to ensure safe social-distancing on the school journey. This allows a greater space around school entrances for families all travelling to the same place, making social distancing easier as well as facilitating active travel.
As many as 40 schools are now benefitting from footway markings outside entrances and exits to help guide children and parents on where to stand to socially distance. More schools will also have footway markings installed in the coming weeks.
Councillor Mik Sabiers, cabinet member for environment and highways said: “School Streets are a great way to help younger residents stay safer as they walk, cycle and scoot to and from school.
“Our first School Streets are set to be the first of many in the borough and will encourage more people to travel actively to school. We want to improve our local air quality, reduce the number of cars outside school gates and increase road safety.”
“It is vital people find alternatives to public transport wherever possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support the NHS as we continue to recover from the pandemic.
“The school run is no different and in Ealing 62% of pupils live within a 10-minute walk of their school.
“We will continue to help families switch to active travel wherever possible and help support both our recovery from the pandemic and help tackle the climate emergency.”