A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times.
Streets remain open to pedestrians, cyclists and exempted vehicles during the restricted times.
We have 10 School Streets in operation in Sutton.
- 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
- in London, as much as 25% of rush hour traffic is made up of vehicles travelling to school
- 98% of schools in London are in areas exceeding World Health Organisation pollution limits
- children growing up in polluted areas in London showed significantly smaller lung volume, with a loss of approximately 5% in lung capacity - equivalent to two large eggs - compared to their peers in the rest of England
- collisions, driving too fast, inconsiderate or unlawful parking, and pollution from motorists idling their engines are well-known issues in the roads surrounding schools
Sutton Council is committed to making the streets outside our schools safer and healthier for our children.
School Streets schemes:
- keep children and parents safe and active
- help improve the air quality around schools
- reduce traffic speeds and congestion
- make roads safer and calmer for pupils at school start and finish times
- reinforcing the principles of ‘school keep clears’
- encouraging more sustainable modes of transport to and from school
From other boroughs’ experiences, people living in School Streets:
- experience lower volumes of traffic
- fewer instances of inconsiderate parking
- improved air quality
Using active forms of travel like walking and cycling has excellent benefits not only for the environment but also for the health of our residents.
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.
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.
How schools were chosen for the scheme
All the participating schools expressed willingness to be part of the schemes.
Historically, many of the schools have reported:
- severe congestion
- road safety concerns
- complaints from residents about inconsiderate parking, engine idling and sometimes verbal abuse from parents and carers
How long the scheme will last
The School Streets scheme is permanent.
A comprehensive review will be undertaken after 6 months following monitoring
School Streets uses a Traffic Management Order (TMO) for each scheme. These detail:
- the area of the restriction
- restriction times
- which types of vehicles are exempted
Our transport policy
This aligns with our policies in accordance with Ambitious for Sutton and Sutton Council’s draft Sustainable Transport Strategy, which are:
- keeping the air cleaner through alternative travel choices, such as walking, cycling to work, using public transport or using electric vehicles; and
- improving safety for travellers, especially for people with disabilities, children, older residents and other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists
How we consulted residents
In March 2021, we consulted local residents and received positive responses in support of the scheme.
After considering all responses, we agreed to implement 10 School Streets at the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee meeting on 24 June 2021.
The scheme went live on 1 November 2021.
Other options explored
We considered other options to improve the traffic problem and safety outside the school before the introduction of the school street scheme.
We considered options such as one way systems or extensive parking restrictions.
However, to introduce them on a permanent 24/7 basis would penalise those residents living in the affected streets based on an issue that occurs only during school term times at drop-off and pick-up times.
It would also not discourage or penalise parking on school zig zag markings.
The School Streets project provides a new way of addressing concerns raised around school parking and congestion, whilst encouraging and enabling alternative and sustainable forms of travel to school.