School Streets supporting social distancing at Hounslow schools
15 June 2020
To enable schools to begin their phased reopening earlier this month, schools were required to make it possible for students and parents to social distance at drop off and pick up times wherever possible. The School Streets programme has played an important part of these plans for many schools in Hounslow, helping to provide safe space for all.
With traffic and congestion levels being low, combined with the public being discouraged from using public transport, it is understandable that transport by car would seem like an attractive option for many. However, there are many risks associated with travelling to school by car:
- Road danger increases, impacting those who travel by all modes.
- Increase in travel times, road traffic and congestion around schools.
- Decrease in physical activity levels for pupils, staff and parents as car use increases.
- Air pollution in London increases overall; additionally, car passengers are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than those who walk or cycle.
- Increase in poor health outcomes and mortality associated with decreased physical activity, air pollution, road danger, noise, and severance.
- Increased transport related emissions from cars contributing to climate change.
- To mitigate against these risks and to encourage more parents and children to walk and cycle to school, temporary road closures have been rolled out across the borough during drop off and pick-up times as part of Hounslow’s School Streets programme.
|St Paul’s CofE Primary School||Brentford|
|St Mary’s Catholic Primary School & The William Hogarth Primary School||Chiswick|
|Sparrow Farm Infant & Nursery School||Feltham|
|Fairholme Primary School||Feltham|
|Edward Pauling Primary School||Feltham|
|Hounslow Heath Junior School||Hounslow|
|The Orchard Primary School||Hounslow|
|St Michael & St Martin Catholic Primary School||Hounslow|
|Lampton School (secondary)||Hounslow|
|Spring Grove Primary School||Isleworth|
Borough officers have been working in partnership with schools to identify priority locations across Hounslow. These include:
- Where there are two or more schools in close proximity to one another.
- Schools with narrow footways.
- Schools with large intake/multi form entry, so that even with staggered start/finish times crowding outside is still likely.
- Where crowding outside school was identified as an issue prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Where road danger was identified as an issue prior to COVID-19.
- Where plans are already progressing to deliver a School Street and can be fast tracked.
- Where other ‘Streetspace’ interventions such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are planned.
- Where schools are situated within or in close proximity to a cul-de-sac.
School Streets and social distancing
The current pandemic means people need to be able to physically distance while waiting at the school gate. By removing traffic from around schools, road space can be used for waiting, walking, scooting and cycling. Creating this additional space facilitates physical distancing around schools and reduces the risk of accidents occurring if pupils, parents/carers and staff are forced to make space for others by stepping onto roads while they are in use by motor traffic.
In the longer-term, School streets will provide multiple shared benefits including helping people to be more active, reduce childhood obesity, improve air quality and reduce collisions and accidents associated with the school run. Additionally, a reduction in noise pollution will create a calmer environment for both local residents and children, helping with their concentration and mental health.
Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council said:
“The accelerated introduction of School Streets has been a key part of the Council’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the phased re-opening of schools. We have been working closely with schools across the borough and are delighted to have 11 participating schools at this stage, with more schools coming on board for the start of the academic year in September.
“By creating a safer environment around schools, the programme is directly supporting social distancing and in the longer term we hope that school communities will adapt to and enjoy adopting active transport into their day, helping their physical and mental wellbeing.”
Please contact STA@hounslow.gov.uk for more information or to suggest a location.