There aren't too many schools closer to the centre of a bustling global capital than St Joseph’s Primary in London's Covent Garden.
Here we look at how Living Streets worked with the school and its local council to close its street to traffic at pick-up and drop-off times - and the benefits to pupils and locals alike.
Video produced by Amoveo
As part of its Healthy School Streets pilot project, Camden, the local council, decided to improve the safety of St Joseph's pupils and families on the walk to school by temporarily closing the road the school is situated on every weekday at school pick up and drop off times to vehicle traffic.
The combination of Macklin Street being a small road with narrow pavements, situated in central London, with heavy goods vehicle use, and the experiences of a number of near misses with pupils getting hit by vehicles and an actual incident of a pupil being hit – provided the support from within the school for the road closures.
What people told us before the road closure...
“The immediate area outside the school is actively dangerous. A little girl was actually hit by a car, that was an accident waiting to happen.” - Andrew Nuttney, parent governor
“The benefits of the road closing is that parents, children and pedestrians can walk down the road safely and can enjoy their walk to school, and it will avoid a fatal accident.” – Michelle Zini-Lopes, parent
“People can take another road to get to their destination, well we have to kinda go there” – St Joseph's pupil
“At St Joseph’s we’d really like to see the road closures continue because its much safer for everybody.” – Nicola Scott Phillips, St Joseph's Deputy Head
“You can see real benefits of people walking to school in a safer & calmer environment.” – Cllr Phil Jones, Camden Council
“Since the road has been closed, I think things have calmed down a lot more, pollution wise as well” – Amie Henry, parent
Living Streets was running WOW - our year-round walk to school challenge - at St Joseph’s to encourage more children and parents to walk to school in conjunction with the road closure pilot.
So it made sense for us to also assist Camden Council’s public consultation with the residents and businesses regarding the road closures. We also provided evidence for the consultation through traffic audits.
Macklin Street has a mixture of stakeholders in the community, with businesses, residents and the school community and the project was generally supported by the majority of stakeholders.
People saw the overall benefits to the safety of the pupils and the low impact of the road closure on other users due to the short time frames of the weekday road closures and the positive impact on the school community and the road itself.
Living Streets also provided lots of in-depth support to St Joseph’s when setting up and running WOW in the school and also coordinated the creation of the video produced by graphics and video collective Amoveo, that documented the story of the project covering its need and its impact.
This kind of project is really beneficial to schools, particularly in central London, particularly where there is lots of traffic, and it can be quite dangerous at those times of day; and its really benefited our school so we would recommend it to others.