Traffic-free pilot project transforms ‘hellish’ school run
PUBLISHED: 12:13 11 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 11 November 2019
The school run has turned from a “hellish” nightmare into a pleasure thanks to a new pedestrian and cycle zone pilot project.
Roads around Woodgrange Infant School, Godwin Junior School and Chobham Academy have now closed to vehicles during drop off and pick up times in a bid to reduce traffic and improve air quality.
Neighbours and blue badge holders in Sebert Road, Cranmer Road or Godwin Road in Forest Gate as well as Cheering Lane, Stratford, will still be able to drive at all times, as will emergency vehicles.
Cllr Rachel Tripp, speaking in Sebert Road at the launch on Monday, November 11, said: "It used to be hellish with cars backing up. Apart from the fumes which were a serious health risk, it could make for a really stressful and difficult journey.
"I'm excited about this project as it brings the community together and provides children with a more peaceful start to the school day."
Mother of two Jessica Morrison from Forest Gate welcomed the scheme, recalling congested roads, cars parked on double yellow lines and pavements.
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"It didn't feel safe. This is much better. This morning I could cycle with my son on the road which was really nice," she said.
Woodgrange Infant, Godwin and Chobham are the first schools to take part because of their strong support for the healthy school streets pilot which runs for a six-months.
If successful, similar zones will be introduced around other schools in Newham.
On the morning of the launch, about 20 to 30 motorists were turned back from one end of Sebert Road with a council spokesman saying only a couple grumbled.
Lollipop lady, Bushra Sultana, who has worked outside Woodgrange Infant's school gates for almost six years, said: "It used to be very dangerous with cars coming down so fast. It's so good now, people can come by bike."
Kerena Fussell, deputy coordinator at Newham Cyclists - which has been campaigning for safer streets outside schools for the past two years - said: "It's amazing. As someone who has lived in the area a long time, it's not something I expected to see."
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