Over the Easter holidays ward councillors and teachers were informed that finally Westminster Council was about to roll out the widespread use of school streets, with experimental schemes at 9 primary schools due to start when the children returned for the summer term and traffic data collection due to start at 7 others to assess the suitability of such schemes on the roads near those schools. However many schools returned for the start of the summer term and nothing happened. Teachers and councillors would spend the next few months trying to get to the bottom of the delay, without a clear answer from the council as to what had happened.
The delay hasn’t been used for widespread discussions with parents and residents about the best way forwards and the Council web pages that had been due to provide information about the schemes and allow parent and resident feedback are currently blank (https://westminsteractivestreets.co.uk/ and https://www.westminster.gov.uk/active-streets-programme/school-streets-delivery-programme). Council officers have expressed hope that the delayed schemes will get underway in the autumn but there is no communication yet with parents and residents about what is going to happen.
Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “The proper roll-out of school streets is long-overdue in Westminster. They can help keep children safe from traffic and air pollution at drop-off and at the end of the school day. They can also help promote active travel.
The confusion of the last few months hasn’t helped our local kids and the time doesn’t seem to have been used productively to discuss options with parents and residents. The council should get on with suitable school streets starting in September.”