School streets are back with a £60 bang – with more to come

No excuses: school streets have been reintroduced, some with special, extra signage for the hard-of-thinking

As Croydon pupils yesterday packed their satchels and rucksacks and headed back to school for the final term of this academic year, so the council has reintroduced 10 school streets, with restrictions on traffic.

The school streets were “paused” by the council at the end of February, largely because someone in Fisher’s Folly forgot to get the paperwork done to extend the period when the traffic restrictions – and potential for penalty fines – could apply.

The responsibility for this work fell, as so often has been the case, under the aegis of the serial bungler, Steve Iles, the director of streets and then public realm, who was recently given another new title: “director of sustainable communities”.

The council says, “The council has introduced schools streets across the borough to encourage healthy journeys during the busy school run, reducing air pollution and improving safety around schools.” Which is all commendable and to be applauded. Just a shame that they failed to get basic administration done to ensure a continuity of the measures, which began to be introduced during the first lockdown period in 2020.

The 10 sites are:

  • Christ Church CofE Primary, Purley
  • Downsview Primary, Upper Norwood
  • Ecclesbourne Primary, Thornton Heath
  • Harris Primary Academy Haling Park, South Croydon
  • Keston Primary
  • Harris Primary Academy Croydon, Broad Green
  • Oasis Academy Ryelands, South Norwood
  • Ridgeway Primary, Sanderstead
  • St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary, SE25
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Junior, Upper Norwood

The traffic restrictions apply only for an hour or so before the school day begins and after it ends, during term time.

And all those car and van drivers with difficulty reading road signs who have been trying to claim that they were nabbed for a 60-quid fine by “illegal” traffic zones had better watch out. The council says, “Following feedback from the previous consultation…”, meaning the uproar from those who failed to read the signs on the school streets previously, “… the council has also decided to implement extra signage at Haling Road, Keston Avenue, Montpelier Road and Southcote Road.

“The signage will go beyond legal requirements, to offer motorists more advanced warning.”

And if that wasn’t completely clear, in its press release issued yesterday, “Motorists should be aware that the return of the schemes means that from today, driving through these streets during the restricted school run period will incur a penalty charge notice.” Ker-ching!

And in a final act of defiant arse-covering, the council is running yet another consultation, through until October 25 which they say, “will provide an opportunity for the public to give feedback on the schemes”.

Responses can be submitted via the council website or by writing to: Order Making Section, Parking Design Team, Sustainable Communities, Regeneration & Economic Recovery, Croydon Council, Bernard Weatherill House, 8 Mint Walk Croydon CR0 1EA.

And there are more school streets coming, too (although no one at the council is yet prepared to say where): “The council is working with Transport for London on plans to add new school streets this year, and more information will be available in the coming weeks.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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2 Responses to School streets are back with a £60 bang – with more to come

  1. Don White says:

    Anyone suspicious that this is just a repetition of Croydon’s plans just to bankroll its profligacy will not be reassured by consulting the Council consultation website to which you kindly provide a link. Here one finds that while the ‘permanent Healthy School Streets’ are listed by the school’s name, they are only listed by the name of the road or roads proposed to be affected in the section ‘Healthy School Streets under consultation’, nor in any of the detailed consultation proposal documents (all of which are word-for-word, by the way), is there a reference to any of the individual schools the plans are supposed to help. And in some cases the appended map does not even name the school, showing only a building labelled “School” or “Centre”.
    More significantly, I could find no actual proposed argument reasoning how the closures etc. are supposed to help the school they relate to. It is just signalled as a Good Thing with bland assertions purporting to prove that pushing a problem 100 metres or so down the road is a solution. Croydon’s own Borough Profile published in December 2021 shows the opposite. Far from reducing any problems, the number of road casualties Killed or Seriously Injured has increased over the past 8 years, with accidents to cyclists and pedestrians particularly prevalent. Don’t Croydon’s Councillors read their own Officers’ reports? Whatever they are doing they are not analysing the problem and they are providing no solution.
    Car traffic in Croydon has increased over the same period, even during lockdown.
    Perhaps Croydon’s “thinking” is best exemplified by their own statement; “ 10.1 Hostile behaviours are presently daily occurrences experienced by driving parents, other road users, school staff, residents and parking enforcement officers. The disorderly behaviours can be intimidating and set a bad example to children. The School Street schemes can significantly reduce and disperse such disorder away from the school entrance where a concentration of children exists.” In other words ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

  2. Lewis White says:

    Just had a “joined up thinking” thought about national road sigange. I looked up the comprehensive sign manual published by HM Govt’s Department of Transport, and was not at all surprised to find no specific signage for a “School Zone”. There is a sign for something called “Home Zone”, with silhouettes of happy people enjoying a space. Looks a bit like a superior version of a Brick by Brick graphic of happy people enjoying a space.

    There is something called a “disc zone” which I thought might provide a safe street environment for D.J’s to spin old fashioned vinyl records, or even C.D.’s, in safety to an appreciatve audience at weekends and bank holidays without the annoyance of through traffic, but sadly, it just referred to a thing called a “Parking disc”.

    It seems ridciulous that nationally (whether UK or just lil’ole Engerland) the powers that be in the DOT haven’t had the savvy to suss out that there are gazillions of schools around the place, and that there is a good case to have a standard concept called a “School zone”, where traffic might be restricted during certain times of day, with standard signage. Drivers from Cornwall to Caithness and Cumbria to Kent would instantly see the words, and instantly know that Children will be about–and that they the driver should not enter the area– or that speeds are going to be limited.

    Two signs– 1- no access to non-residents’ vehicles (between certain times)
    2- special speed limit imposed eg 10mph , ( ” ” ” )

    There is also a very good case to have a “family” of zones, such as “Town Centre 20mph zone”, “Evening access zone” (to allow traffic into town centres after 6pm) , “Village 20 mph zone” , “Countryside 40mph zone” and maybe a “Wildlife 20mph zone” where roads through places like Farthing Downs are highlighted , with a set of easily-understood restrictions.

    Is this idea just too sophisticated for transport ministers and top civil servants and highway engineers to get their heads round???

    So– I don’t blame Croydonm, I blame a central Govt establishment that has little imagination.

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