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Frequently asked questions about School Streets

What is a School Street?

A School Street creates a pedestrian and cycling zone, supporting active travel, cleaner air, reducing vehicle movement and creates a safer and more pleasant start and end to the day for everyone in and around school communities.

A School Street limits motor vehicle access at pick-up and drop-off times during term-time using a barrier, such as a retractable gate, depending on each individual scheme in the short term and possibly Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras in the longer term. Some smaller schemes can use signage only.

Residents and businesses within the School Street zone, blue badge holders and taxis visiting these properties and emergency vehicles are permitted to enter or leave the School Street. The main aim of the scheme is to prevent the School Street being used by through-traffic or by parents parking. Please visit the exemption page for further information on how to apply for exemption.

Please do not confuse permits holders with holders of Controlled Parking Zone permits. These are entirely separate permits, and one does not cover the other.

A new School Street takes a few months for everyone to adjust to the changes, but the result is a safer and healthier environment for everyone.

Why are we introducing School Streets?

School Streets are part of a borough-wide collection of measures being introduced to tackle congestion, road safety concerns and potentially air quality.

They will also help to increase physical activity (by increasing confidence to walk or cycle) and may improve air quality around the school.

Where are the current School Streets?

  • Orleans Primary School SS16 – Hartington Rd
  • St Stephen’s CE Primary School SS2 – Winchester Road (part)
  • Twickenham Primary Academy – SS3 – Colne Road (part)
  • St Richard Reynolds Catholic College – SS4 – Lion Rd, Staten Gardens, Station Rd (part), Clifden Rd, Copthall Gardens (part), Grove Ave, Tudor Gardens, Laurel Road, Prado Path, Lansdowne Cl and Albert Road
  • Stanley School – SS5 – Strathmore Road
  • Hampton Infants and Nursery School – SS6 – Ripley Road
  • Holy Trinity CE Primary School – SS7 – Carrington Road and Kings Farm Ave
  • Richmond Upon Thames School – SS8 - Egerton Road (part)
  • Hampton Hill Junior School – SS9 – St James Avenue
  • Jack and Jill Pre Prep School – SS10 – First Cross Road
  • St John the Baptist Junior School – SS11 – Lower Teddington Road (part) and Raeburn Cl
  • St Mary’s CE Primary School – SS13 - Amyand Park Rd (part) and Cheltenham Avenue
  • The Russell Primary School – SS14 – Meadlands Dr (part)
  • Trafalgar Infant and Junior Schools – SS15 – Elmsleigh Road

What are the operating hours for School Streets?

Operating hours vary according to the school start and end times. They generally operate for 30-60 minutes during morning and afternoon school peak times during term time only.

School Streets do not operate during school holidays or at weekends and the signs will be closed when not operational for holidays and half term breaks.

View Schools Streets locations to find out about hours of operation.

How do I request a School Street?

If your school is interested in a School Street, we would love to hear from you.

Each school’s situation is different, so here is a short checklist (pdf, 109 KB) that will be useful to include when you contact us. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this information at this stage.

Does the Council consult residents and local businesses?

School Streets are normally implemented on a trial basis using an Experimental Traffic Order to enable all aspects of the scheme to be considered, including comments from residents, local businesses and the school before a decision is made on whether to make the scheme permanent.

For phase 3 we will be consulting the public in advance of any trials, which will only go ahead subject to the outcome of the public consultation. The experimental traffic order will then allow the trial to go ahead and amendments be made in line with the consultation which will continue to run throughout the trial period.

To register views from the launch day onward please visit our Consultations page.

Who will be exempt from School Street restrictions?

People walking, scooting, using wheelchairs, mobility scooters and cycles (including adapted cycles) are not restricted.

All other motor vehicles are restricted during the operating times displayed on the signs, subject to the following exemptions:

Though we encourage everyone to support the school street, where they are able, the following motorised vehicles are automatically exempt:

  • Emergency vehicles
  • Council waste trucks serving properties within the School Street zone
  • Postal service vehicles serving post boxes within the School Street zone
  • Statutory undertakers (such as water and gas companies) attending emergency works within the School Street zone
  • School buses serving the school or properties within the School Street zone
  • Public transport and taxis (Hackney Carriage) serving properties within the School Street zone

The following vehicles are also exempt, but must apply for exemption using our online exemption form or contact us for assistance:

  • Residents and businesses within the School Street zone
  • Blue badge holders (when their destination is within the School Street zone)
  • Carers and healthcare workers serving properties within the School Street zone
  • Private hire taxis serving properties within the School Street zone
  • Tradespeople/service providers serving properties within the School Street
  • Delivery vehicles serving properties within the School Street

Please do not confuse permits holders with holders of Controlled Parking Zone permits. These are entirely separate permits, and one does not cover the other.

How do I register an exemption if a School Street is enforced by ANPR cameras? 

Please visit our School Streets exemption page for information on how to register your vehicle for an exemption.

If you have had an unavoidable reason to enter the School Street during the restricted times without having obtained an exemption, you need to apply for an exemption before the end of that day. If it is no longer the same day, you will need to appeal the PCN if you have grounds to do so.

Residents and businesses within the School Street should please notify essential visitors of the need to register for exemption or apply on their behalf.

See our Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) page for information on PCN charges, how to pay and how to challenge one.

Please do not confuse permits holders with holders of Controlled Parking Zone permits. These are entirely separate permits, and one does not cover the other.

What if I am already parked inside the School Street before the operating?

Vehicles already parked in the roads before the times of operation will be able to exit. During the operating times any vehicles are advised to travel at walking pace.

How will parents, carers and children with limited mobility be affected by the School Street?

The School Street will make it easier for pupils, parents and carers with limited mobility to access the school by reducing traffic outside the school gates. Those holding valid blue badges will be exempt from the restrictions but should still avoid parking on school keep clear (zigzag) markings.

Will the School Street cause displacement of traffic?

Through the introduction of a School Street, the total volumes of traffic near to the school are expected to decrease during drop-off and pick-up times.

It is difficult to predict exactly how much traffic will be reduced and this will vary for different School Streets, however, monitoring data for phase 2 School Streets shows that the reduction of vehicles recorded within most School Streets was greater than the increase in displaced traffic in adjacent roads where these were monitored.

There is potential for parking to be dispersed over a wider area rather than concentrated outside the school gates.  We will be working with the school and local community to identify locations away from schools where parents can park safely without obstructing residents on neighbouring streets.

Some parents or carers will say it’s essential that they drive their child to school; is this scheme designed to penalise them?

The objective of the School Street is to make the school run safer, healthier and more enjoyable for the whole community, as well as for children travelling to school; not to penalise parents. For those who need to rely on the car for children to travel to school, they can park slightly further away and walk the last part of the journey,

Some parents may feel frustrated at first, but will, over time, find ways to adjust their daily routines. It is already the case that most children arrive at school other than by car.

How will the scheme be governed or managed?

A Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up between the council and the school, detailing the ongoing roles and responsibilities and will look something like this.

Council and school responsibilities
What the Council will do What the school will do
Develop/provide communications resources for the school and local community (Sustrans) Provide senior management commitment to the programme and a key contact point
Provide on-street engagement where appropriate (Sustrans) Carry out whole school travel behaviour survey (using STARS online tool) – before and after implementation
Deliver engagement activities within the school (Sustrans) Distribute communications through its usual channels (newsletters, parentmail, etc.)
(Subject to engagement outcomes) Implement traffic order changes Host engagement activities (coffee morning, assembly, classroom activities) and/or deliver resources provided
Install signs to comply with road traffic regulations Maintain or achieve STARS accreditation
Provide risk assessment Maintain or achieve STARS accreditation
Provide training for volunteers (Sustrans) Provide location for storing equipment (e.g. barriers)
Provide activities supporting travel behaviour change (Sustrans) Host behaviour change activities (cycle skills, Dr Bike)

How will the scheme be enforced?

How the scheme is enforced will depend on the design of the School Street. Vehicles may be restricted using physical barriers such as retractable barriers, initially managed by with volunteers.

Some have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras, where feasible. Vehicles entering School Streets during operational hours without having applied for an exemption, will receive a PCN. See the exemption page for details of schools with ANPR enforcement.

How will visitors know about the School Street?

School Street signs will be installed at the entry points of the restricted roads and advanced warning signs will be installed on some surrounding roads, informing people of the timed closure outside the school.

We also produce banners, lamp column wraps, flyers, information on our website and letters to notify residents, parents, school staff and local businesses.

We ask the school and anyone within the School Street to tell their visitors about the restrictions when visits are being planned. Visitors can park on surrounding roads outside the closure or apply for exemption, where eligible.

How will the School Street be monitored?

We will undertake a range of measures to monitor and assess the School Street, which includes:

  • Traffic counts to measure vehicle levels before and after School Street implementation
  • Surveys to measure how children are travelling to school before and after implementation
  • Consultation feedback
  • Stage 1, 2 and 3 safety audits before and after implementation
  • Safety review after implementation and settling of the scheme
  • PCN data

All of this information will be reported to the Transport and Air Quality committee to decide on whether the School Streets are made permanent or removed.

Is this legal?

Yes. Local authorities can implement Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) or Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs) to control traffic in their area. These are legal powers and can be temporary or permanent. Local residents must be informed about proposals. 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.

That School Streets also support a healthier and more peaceful start and end to the school day is a huge benefit and we are keen to support their long-term success so are keen to have your views.

Please see the Consultations page to suggest any improvements for your local School Street.

What if I want to speak to the Council about the School Street?

Please email schoolstreets@richmond.gov.uk.

Updated: 25 November 2021