The School Streets designs are a quickly embraced, low-cost, and simple intervention to reduce vehicle usage, pollution, improve safety, and encourage walking and cycling. They have shown measurable, positive impacts that should inspire cities around the world to consider them.
School streets are temporary traffic-free zones outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times. In London, for example, all schools have to participate in the program unless they opt-out, and if they do, they will lose access to a significant amount of road space.
Creating Pedestrian-Friendly School Streets: Design Ideas and Benefits
This can be a challenging policy to implement, but if there is strong community support it can be successful. Engaging with local residents, businesses, and parents is key, especially if the scheme will impact them. Having in-person engagement events and sharing an FAQ document can help to address common concerns before the scheme is launched.
It is also important to involve a wide range of internal stakeholders, such as teachers and students. Communicating the benefits of the scheme to them can help to build their engagement with it.
Some parents/carers may say that it is essential for them to drive their children to school, will this penalise them? School Streets are designed to be safe and enjoyable for everyone, including those who need to drive. If there are spaces nearby for Park & Stride, people will be encouraged to use them instead of driving straight up to the gate. For those who cannot avoid driving, they will have to use designated parking areas on the periphery of the School Street zone, or – in some cases – will receive a penalty charge for entering the restricted area during the operational hours of the scheme.