The Government has recently stated it “expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians”, as one way of enabling people to travel safely whilst observing social distancing rules - as an alternative to cars and public transport.
As part of this, Merton Council plans to introduce a `school streets’ for a number of streets in the borough. The objective is to deter car trips for `the school run’. This is achieved by restricting motorised traffic during the morning and afternoon peak periods (for most schools this will be 8:30-9:15am and 3:00-3:45pm).
As well as protecting cyclists and pedestrians, the proposed changes are intended to reduce air pollution around schools, improving children's health.
Signs advising of the restriction period will be erected. The restriction will be enforced by traffic cameras.
During these periods the roads will be predominantly pedestrian and cycle only zones. However, residents who live on the roads, as well as teachers and those with disabilities will be able to apply for an exemption from the Council.
This is initially being introduced as a temporary measure for a maximum of 18 months. During this time there will be a formal consultation process to allow residents to submit comments about the restrictions. Details of the consultation process will be communicated to residents by the Council.
Within 18 months of the restrictions being introduced, the Council will make a final decision which could include ending the scheme, modifying it, or making it permanent.
London Liberal Democrats are carrying out a survey of what steps councils across London have taken, and whether residents support the changes. You can complete the survey online.