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Eight new ‘school street’ schemes to be made permanent across Haringey

The borough already has 26 school streets which help over 11,000 pupils travel to school “in cleaner air with less risk”, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

A 'school street' in Tottenham
An existing ‘school street’ in Tottenham

Eight new ‘school streets’ are set to become permanent in Haringey despite worries over the displacement of traffic on to neighbouring roads. 

The eight school streets discussed at a cabinet meeting this week (Tuesday 6th) will cover 13 different schools, so “an additional 4,500 pupils” will feel the effects according to Mike Hakata, cabinet member for climate action, environment and transport.

School streets are designed to make it easier for children to walk and cycle to school by closing neighbouring roads to through-traffic during the school’s opening and closing times.

Currently, Haringey has 26 school streets which, according to a report discussed at the meeting, help over 11,000 pupils travel to school “in cleaner air with less risk of traffic injury”. 

Coleridge Primary, Lancasterian Primary School and The Vale Primary School, Lea Valley Primary, Duke’s Aldridge Academy and The Vale Secondary School, North Harringay School, South Harringay Primary School, St Mary’s Church of England School, St Mary’s Priory RC School and Stroud Green School will receive the school streets – with some schemes covering two schools. 

Cllr Hakata said: “We do have one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing school streets programme.

“We have schools queuing up asking us for school streets based on their experiences of other schools and realising the positive impact it has.”

Seema Chandwani, cabinet member for resident services and tackling inequality, asked how they would monitor parents parking “up the road or on the next one”.

Tim Walker, Haringey Council’s programme manager for highways, said “considerable monitoring” had been done on the 26 school streets already in the borough after they were implemented.. 

He said from the schemes already in place they’d seen a “modal shift”. There was an “increase in walking and cycling” and a “reduction in car use”. He emphasised there was “not just displacement” occurring. 

In terms of their approach for these eight new schemes, he said: “We’ll continue to do monitoring, working with the school, carrying out surveys with the pupils to see what’s happening, as well as with officers carrying out observations on the ground to see if any amendments are required.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Scott Emery asked whether Cllr Hakata was concerned about the streets where consultations were “more anti than pro”. 

Cllr Hakata said it was a “mixed picture” and they took all submissions “seriously” but added some were “quite rude” while other objections gave “a lot of detail” which he said was “quite helpful”. 

He said they’d changed some of the eight schemes “materially” following the feedback last year and stated  “a lot” of the objections were “about minor inconveniences”. 

Cllr Hakata added: “It’s important we understand what those objections are, if they’re about taking parking away, I’m sorry but we have to prioritise the safety of children.”

In contrast, staff and parents’ responses were positive.

“We get unanimous support from staff, parents are literally jumping up and down saying this has transformed the school’s pick up and drop- off times. Some of the times people don’t like the idea until they realise the positive impacts.”

Dana Carlin, cabinet member for finance and local investment, said there was one school street in her ward, Hornsey, where traffic displacement occurred. 

She said there was an adjoining street which had its own entrance to the school and was now “the street where all parents stopped to drop off their kids” but she added it wasn’t a “safe” situation. 

Cllr Hakata said in instances where there were serious reports of displacement following monitoring the traffic issues were found to be “systemic to that road” and issues ran “throughout the day” not just within the school street hours. 

He added they were looking to see how to “extend” school streets to create “zones” to cover neighbouring roads. He said a number of the new schemes protected more than one school “so it’s a whole area” helping “mitigate the problem from the start”. 

Councillors approved the implementation of all eight school streets.