Dear Wandsworth Council,
Thank you for engaging in this discussion. I posted here in hope of finding some like-minded parents who might know better how to bring this topic to your attention.
This followed TFLs guidance in June 2020 -
to implement School Streets not only to encourage walking, scooting or cycling, improve air quality and reduce road danger outside schools, but also to provide additional space outside schools so that parents/carers can drop off and collect children while safely social distancing.
Wandsworth has implemented 19 school streets (on a temporary basis) meaning 21% of children attending school in Wandsworth have a safer space directly outside of their school. This is a start, but still a low bar.
Have any of the additional recommendations been implemented? My experience of cycling with my primary-aged child to school is that the schools without school streets are typically crowded outside with cars at pick-up and drop off time, many with engines idling. Have any parking bays been removed, or any signs put up to discourage idling?
Bike/scooter sheds are still closed in many schools due to measures introduced to stop the spread of COVID, even though we now know that surface transmission is extremely rare and pick-up times are generally staggered. What advice has Wandsworth issued to schools on this matter? Are you asking schools to encourage active travel, knowing that there is an enormous net benefit to children both now and throughout their lives?
Healthy Streets note that benefits of school streets are:
- reductions in motor traffic, congestion, and road danger around schools
- reductions in motor traffic emissions contributing to climate change
- reductions in noise pollution
- reductions in inequality and poor health outcomes for those living in the most deprived areas who are less likely to have access to a car
- improved air quality
- increased physical activity levels and associated health benefits from physical activity
- development of young people’s independence by allowing more children to walk or cycle at least part of their journey to school without their parents, helping to address the trend towards the increasing dependence of young people on their parents to travel
- ability of people to physically distance.
If you, the council, support the outcomes noted then it follows that school streets alone are not enough. You must prioritise infrastructure that enables children to walk/scoot/cycle to school.
TfL awarded £3.2M for Local Implementation Plan (paper 15-352) which included £300K confirmed funding for cycle route improvements in 2015/16 (plus £300K proposed for 2016/17) - what infrastructure has been developed with that funding? I cannot find any public record of what was achieved with this fund. I would be interested to know both how it was used and whether the needs of children were taken into account when the spending was allocated.
Thanks again for your engagement.