Sutton Council is committed to making the streets outside our schools safer and healthier for our children. One way of doing this is to introduce School Streets.
‘School Keep Clear’ markings were first established in the 1964 Traffic Signs Regulations, and keep the space outside of schools free from parked vehicles so that children can be seen more easily when crossing the road. In 1964 there were fewer than 7 million vehicles on the road, today this figure has increased to more than 38 million. School Streets are a 21st century solution. They extend the original principle by closing the road outside a school to motor vehicles during drop-off and pick-up times. Access restrictions do not apply to residents and the schemes only operate during term time.
Across the UK, roads become congested with traffic during the school run. In London, as much as 25% of rush hour traffic is made up of vehicles travelling to school. Collisions, driving too fast, inconsiderate or unlawful parking, and pollution from motorists idling their engines are well-known issues in the roads surrounding schools.
We know that children are among those most affected by high air pollution levels. Air pollution has been linked to asthma, heart disease and can impact lung development. Meanwhile, using active forms of travel like walking and cycling have excellent benefits not only for the environment but also for the health of our residents.
But we acknowledge the predicament parents, guardians and carers face. While traffic makes the roads unsafe, they often feel they have no choice but to drive their children to school.
That is why we want to help support families to switch to active travel to school by making it clear that motor vehicles have no place outside school gates.
Sutton’s School Streets will help make roads safer and calmer for pupils at school start and finish times, reinforcing the principles of ‘school keep clears’ and encouraging more sustainable modes of transport to and from school.