Last week Enfield joined the growing list of London boroughs with ‘school streets’, launching two on the same day.
School streets are closed to motor traffic during school run hours, making the street many times safer for families arriving on foot, bikes or scooters (only certain drivers such as residents are exempt). The two schools are Oakthorpe Primary on Tile Kiln Lane (Palmers Green) and St Monica’s School on Canon Road (Southgate Green), both cul-de-sacs.
Writing on Better Streets’ Facebook page, Oakthorpe parent Klimi Nunes wrote: “School Streets started today at Oakthorpe Primary School. I’m so pleased this has finally happened!”
Cllr Ian Barnes added, “I visited Oakthorpe and it was amazing to see all the children walking down the middle of the road into school. One of the teachers also said that it was nice not to hear drivers constantly shouting at each other in an aggressive way.”
Meanwhile a St Monica’s parent said, “I can report the same calm quietness has settled on Canon Road N14.”
Why we need school streets
As Better Streets for Enfield we have been calling for school streets for years and they are among our five asks.
For more than two years Klimi has shared her concerns on Facebook about the dangers of Tile Kiln Lane, reporting that drivers mount pavements and turn cars and vans in the narrow road while children are on the street. School streets remove this kind of danger, and air pollution, from the school gates – and prioritise children over motor traffic.
As well as removing danger, school streets encourage more families to travel to school without a car, helping to ease congestion. Given that up to 25% of traffic at peak hours is school run traffic, this is very welcome. This also helps address the plague of physical inactivity that is harming so many children’s health.
What about my school?
Do you want a school street? The council has begun its school street programme in earnest this term and has written to every primary school in the borough, encouraging each one to fill in the ‘expression of interest’ form on the Cycle Enfield website, here. Please approach the school leadership team and ask them to fill in the expression of interest form straight away. It can also be helpful to gather like-minded parents at your school to call for this scheme and other measures to make your child’s route to school safe and easy so that fewer parents need or want to drive.
Get more advice about school streets at http://schoolstreets.org.uk/. Feel free to copy firstname.lastname@example.org into your correspondence with the school so we can support you.