Release Date: 02 September 2020
Plan before you leave home, is the message to all parents this week – as children and young people prepare to return to school. And, if possible families are encouraged to walk, cycle or scoot.
As a result of the pandemic, there are significant changes to the borough’s travel network – impacting public transport and local roads.
To support local schools, the Council has rapidly accelerated the rollout of its pioneering School Streets programme – with three being implemented in the summer term, and an additional seven schools set to benefit before 15 October.
In addition, pairs of colourful footprints have been installed outside many schools to help children and their families adhere to social distancing whilst queueing during the drop off and pick up times.
At the same time, TfL have announced that they have added over 200 extra buses to the network - across low frequency routes and existing school routes. Plus, they are prioritising some of their bus services for school travel. See Tfl's school travel guidance.
Cllr Alexander Ehmann the Chair of Richmond’s Highways and Air Quality Committee, said:
“Over the past few months our schools, supported by the Council and Achieving for Children, have been working tirelessly to welcome all pupils back to the classroom in September and it is only right we ensure they are able to travel to and from school in safety as well.
“Wherever possible and providing it can be done safely we would encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school, as this will free up much-needed space on public transport, while exercise can also be beneficial for both physical and mental health.
“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to accelerate the delivery of our School Streets programme, which will not only make travelling to school safer, but it will also improve our air quality, reduce road danger and make it easier to socially distance.”
The Council is conscious that some young people who live in the Barnes area, will have additional travel challenges, due to the closure of Hammersmith Bridge. TfL has increased capacity on the 533 with direct routes to Hammersmith and 378 to help customers to connect with London Underground District Line services at Putney Bridge helping to improve the link between there and Mortlake.
Richmond Council is working closely with TfL and Hammersmith and Fulham Council to urgently identify creative solutions to enable people to cross the river.
Cllr Ehmann, added:
“The recent closure of Hammersmith Bridge to all users will have a big impact on countless children who need to cross the Thames to reach their schools.
“The recent changes to bus routes by TfL don’t scratch the surface for our residents. We continue to press the Government to provide the urgent funding needed and to end their silence over the matter.
“However, we also know, long-term solutions don’t help families right now. That is why we continue to explore short-term solutions to this bridge closure that can be deployed quickly.”
If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.
Updated: 30 September 2020