'School Streets are a no-brainer – but they still need a little brain'
Sue Hessel, Crouch End campaigner
- Credit: PA
Hands up if you would support a scheme that encourages children to walk to school? And breathe in unpolluted air? Haringey Council’s roll-out for designated School Streets, prohibiting vehicles at school-run time, appears a no-brainer.
But they have already gone about it the wrong way. Last month, near Crouch End’s Rokesly School, over 2,500 Elmfield Avenue drivers were fined up to £130 each time they unknowingly entered this "school street", some many times over. And now an appeal ruling by the London Tribunals adjudicator has upheld the complaint of an incensed driver who it deemed was wrongly fined, as the signage "did not adequately inform the motorist of the prohibition".
From September 2, Haslemere Road and Waverley Road residents have been informed (but only this month) that theirs will become school streets too. Between 8.30 - 9.30am and 2.30 - 3.30pm, during term time, vehicles will be fined upon entry. CCTV cameras will ensure only those with permits – emergency services, blue badge holders, disabled pupils, medical practitioners and buses – can enter. Residents’ cars are allowed to enter but not their visitors’.
A lot of questions remain unanswered.
Many services are difficult to time, they often run late through no fault of their own. Especially if the surrounding roads are more congested as a result of this new prohibition.
Will delivery drivers give up and simply go onto their next customers? Will taxis be prepared to respond to an urgent request? What about refuse collections? Parcel deliveries?
What if you are sick or disabled? There is sheltered housing for the elderly on Waverley Road. Will carers still be able to call between these hours to give help in the bathroom, feeding, take you to an appointment?
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What about our residents in neighbouring streets who have not been consulted, even though car pollution could simply shift towards them?
I support this scheme, but in order to work properly it has to be thought through, with care. There has been no community consultation nor public meeting. And that risks failure.
Sue Hessel is a Crouch End campaigner.