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Safe travel

School Streets

School Streets = Traffic free roads outside schools.

School Streets = Gives families the space they need to get to school safely.

School Streets = More children walking, cycling and scooting.


In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on 9 May 2020 the Government published statutory guidance for ‘reallocating road space in response to Covid-19’.

This guidance advises local authorities to reallocate road space through measures such as School Streets in order to:
• encourage cycling and walking
• enable social distancing.

In line with this guidance, from September 2020, three School Streets schemes will be trialled in Devon.

Frequently asked questions

What are School Streets?

A School Street is where a road outside a school temporarily closes to motor vehicles at specific times of day. This opens streets to families on foot, cycle or scooter at school drop off and pick up times.

Read Devon County Council Newscentre article about Devon’s first three School Streets.

See two short films to see how successful Schools Streets are in Hackney. London and in Southampton.

Why School Streets?

School Streets help to give families the space they need to get to school safely. To improve road safety and to maintain social distancing that is needed to restrict the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

By making a safer, cleaner, more pleasant environment, School Streets also increases the likelihood that children will walk or cycle to school instead of by car.

Fewer car trips to and from school will help to improve air quality, encourage more exercise, reduce congestion at peak times and reduce road traffic collisions.

How will School Streets support physical distancing?

School Streets create safe space outside a school. Removing through traffic and parents’ cars creates space to allow for social distancing. This would prevent parents and children having to gather in confined spaces at the school gates.

This makes it easier for children and their families to travel by foot, cycle or scooter to school. A road free from vehicles could typically gain an extra seven metre wide space for pedestrians.

Haven’t parents and carers been told they need to drive their children to school and to avoid public transport during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The UK government has advised schools that they should be “encouraging parents and children and young people to walk or cycle to their education setting where possible.”

Where will the School Streets schemes be trialled?

  • Bradley Barton Primary, Newton Abbot (8th Sept 2020)
  • Whipton Barton Federation, Exeter (19th October 2020)
  • Redhills, Exeter (9th November 2020)

How will School Streets work?

Specific streets around the participating schools will temporarily become pedestrian and cycle only zones at set times in the morning and afternoon.

Motor vehicles will not be allowed to enter the section of street during the times of operation, except for in certain circumstances set out below.

The road will be closed using a combination of cones and expandable barriers placed across the road closure point. The street closure will be marshalled by two trained people from the school staff and  volunteers.

Will this be permanent?

School Streets is a trial and are intended to gain valuable information on how effective these initiatives are at supporting social distancing during the current pandemic. Also their impact on road safety and increasing the number of pupils walking and cycling to and from school.

A consultation process will be provided in order to gather feedback from residents, families and staff.

Information gathered from the trials will help to determined whether the School Street(s) should be made permanent.

Each School Street will be judged on their own merits, as they will all have a unique set of characteristics.

Are these scheme legal?

Yes. Local authorities can implement Traffic Regulation Orders (TTROs) to control traffic in their area. These are legal powers and can be temporary or permanent.

The Department for Transport has issued statutory guidance to all local authorities in England to help them adapt their streets quickly and cheaply to provide safe space for walking and cycling and to enable social distancing. This is part of the UK government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why have we not been consulted about the School Streets?

These School Streets schemes are being implemented as emergency measures to enable social distancing and help families travel to school safely.

Depending on the type of Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) used, and because the UK government has relaxed TRO regulations as part of its Covid-19 response, local authorities are able to implement road closures quickly and flexibly.

This does not mean consultation will not take place. Children, parents, residents and local businesses will be able to have their say on how the scheme might develop, what might be changed and whether it becomes permanent.

As a parent/carer taking my child to school, can I drive into the School Street?

During the restricted times, you will not be allowed to enter the School Street in a vehicle, unless you have a valid access need. For example if you:
Are a Blue Badge holder (or your child is)
Have a permit to park issued by the school.
Are a resident of the School Street.
Work in a business premises on the School Street.

You will still be able to walk, cycle or scoot to school. If that’s not an option for you, you will be able to drive and park nearby and walk the final section. Some schools may have set up a Park and Stride scheme to make this even easier.

Will school staff be allowed to enter the School Street?

If the school has on-premises parking, school staff will be permitted to enter the School Street during the timed restrictions to access the parking.

However, we are asking staff to avoid doing this if possible, and to arrive and leave the on-premises parking outside the times the restrictions are in place.

What about visitors to the school or residents on the street?

We are asking visitors to try and time their arrivals and departures outside of the closure times to make more space for physical distancing as children and their families arrive at or leave school.

During the restricted times, we will ask visitors to park further away unless they are blue badge holders.
However, if a visitor is already in the School Street area before the restriction start time, they can leave the street at any time.

Who will still be able to access the street?

The temporary access restrictions will not apply to:
– Residents who live on the street
– Blue Badge holders
– Emergency services
– Parents or carers with an exemption (provided by the school on a case by case basis)
– Doctors and care visitors to residents in the street
– Business owners with premises in the street
– Business, school staff, or others accessing on-premises parking
– Contracted school transport
– Businesses making deliveries
– Tradespeople doing work to a home on the street.

However, we ask any drivers permitted to enter the scheme to try to time their arrivals and departures outside of the closure times. This will reduce the number of vehicles on the street while families are arriving at or leaving school.

Could this create congestion on surrounding streets?

A recent review of evidence from several School Streets schemes showed in most cases, the total number of cars on streets around the school and local area, reduced significantly.

Furthermore, there is no evidence to show that moving cars out of the roads around a school causes road safety problems elsewhere in the local area.

Who is paying for the School Streets schemes?

The government has provided local authorities with funding for short-term measures that can quickly be implemented to allow for social distancing and encourage walking and cycling.

Subsequent rounds of funding will be made available where consultation reveals a desire for a more permanent scheme.

How can I give my views once the School Street closures begin?

A consultation procedure will be put in place once the scheme(s) has had time to be established and overcome any teething problems. Residents, businesses and parents will be informed in advance how they can feedback their comments.

In the meantime if you do have any urgent feedback these can be directed to the school directly.

How can I get a School Street scheme at my school?

School Streets are a new initiative for Devon. We will trial approximately six sites first in 2020/21 to determine how best they can be run. Each location will require volunteers from the school community to be at each closure point. For more information or to take part in a future School Streets email rshelp@devon.gov.uk


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