Hackney Council has updated its guide to creating School Streets. The Hackney School Streets Toolkit for Professionals is a practical guide designed to assist transportation practitioners with developing School Streets in their communities.
The 2021 edition of the toolkit is free to download. It expands on the 2019 edition by expanding on details about: budget; exemptions; common myths; provides results and information from new schools; and explains detailed operational changes and innovations to the Hackney School Streets programme.
The new edition provides best practice advice from existing schemes across the UK, focussing mainly on the London Borough of Hackney, but also including examples from the London Borough of Camden, as well as Solihull in the West Midlands and Edinburgh in Scotland.
The new edition is based on the experiences of transportation professionals, teachers, pupils, parents and the wider community. It has been designed to provide a step-by-step guide of how to implement an individual School Street scheme as well as what else needs to be considered when operating an area-wide programme of School Streets. ?
The updated version of the Hackney School Streets Toolkit builds on the information contained in the first edition, by distilling the experience and knowledge gained through the implementation of Hackney’s growing programme.
Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney Council cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm, said: “We have added findings from some of our recent schemes and provided updates about innovations that have been adopted into Hackney’s School Street programme. The updated toolkit aims to be responsive to the needs of our audience.
“We have provided more extensive coverage of key topics such as engagement, enforcement, exemptions and finances, and have added new sections which address publicity, mythbusting, and lessons learned.”
Hackney was one of the first local authorities in the world to implement School Street schemes. It started its programme in 2017 by piloting School Streets outside of five schools. In May 2019, it launched the first edition of the School Streets Toolkit for Professionals, which summarised the findings from the pilot schemes.
In November 2019, Hackney Council announced that it would assess all primary schools in the borough for a School Street and, unless a school has opted out, it would install School Streets at all suitable locations.
Cllr Coban said: “By committing to such a large-scale implementation, Hackney was continuing to make it safer to walk and cycle to school for our most vulnerable residents and making strides towards reclaiming our streets from the dominance of motor vehicles.
“This commitment was given new urgency by the coronavirus crisis and the increased necessity to support walking and cycling, protect people from an increase in traffic, and aid with social distancing needs. In spring 2020 the council successfully bid for emergency funding from Transport for London’s Streetspace fund to roll out our School Streets programme at an increased pace.”
As of March 2021, Hackney has made all five of the pilot schemes permanent and have installed a further 37 School Streets outside schools across the borough. “We currently run the largest School Streets programme in the world, making it better for over 15,000 pupils to walk and cycle to school,” said Cllr Coban.
Hackney’s School Streets Programme has attracted professional attention from as far away as Singapore, Australia and Canada.
Cllr Coban said: “We’ve held School Streets professional development workshops, presented at various conferences, and have won several Sustainable Transport awards for the initiative. Evaluation of our School Streets programme continues to demonstrate fantastic results in areas of air quality, behaviour change, and traffic reduction.”
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