School streets to improve pupil safety in Tower Hamlets

School sign

Children and families in Tower Hamlets will benefit from quieter and safer roads near schools thanks to the implementation of the borough’s first six School Streets.

Changes include wider pavements, safer crossings, bike and scooter storage, restricting traffic at the start and end of school days, as well as trees and plants to filter pollution from neighbouring roads.

Alongside the first school streets, there will be temporary measures at 25 other schools to enable safe social distancing near the school gates thanks to funding from Transport for London.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Each school will have different proposals to improve air quality and the environment for everyone. The changes won’t prevent staff, residents and businesses from accessing their area but they will make conditions safer and quieter for the school and the community. With reduced capacity on public transport, we hope the changes will encourage families to walk, cycle or scoot for all or part of their journey.”

Some streets near schools will be closed to motor vehicles for up to an hour both at the start and the end of the school day as part of the plans, with exemption permits available for residents and businesses living or operating in the School Street.

Fines will be imposed on drivers accessing the street without a permit during the operational hours on school days.

Dan Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Realm, said: “Research shows that children in Tower Hamlets suffer from reduced lung capacity as a result of toxic air. The investment in School Streets is designed to tackle that while also promoting active travel and improving road safety around schools.

“Cars on the school run contribute a good proportion of the traffic and pollution in the borough so we want to work with families to make it safer and more enjoyable to walk and cycle to school.”

For more information on School Streets, please visit

The first phase of School Streets in Tower Hamlets includes:

  • Ben Jonson Primary and Harry Roberts Nursery, Stepney Green – closed to motor vehicles (except residents) at drop-off and pick-up times.
  • Blue Gate Fields Junior, Shadwell – new zebra crossing.
  • Elizabeth Selby Infants and Lawdale Junior, Bethnal Green – Old Bethnal Green road closure to reduce through-traffic, traffic calming in Pollard Street to follow.
  • English Martyrs Primary, Whitechapel – improved pavements, one-way system and pedestrian and cycle zone at drop-off and pick-up times.
  • Globe Town Primary, Bethnal Green - closed to motor vehicles (except residents) at drop-off and pick-up times.
  • Malmesbury Primary, Bow - closed to motor vehicles (except residents) at drop-off and pick-up times.

Additional safety measures will be in place at the following schools: Alice Model Nursery, Stepney; Chisenhale Primary, Bow; Cubitt Town Primary; Culloden Primary, Poplar; John Scurr Primary, Bethnal Green; Kobi Nazrul Primary, Whitechapel; Manorfield Primary, Poplar; Osmani Primary School, Whitechapel; St Agnes Primary School, Bow; St Annes Primary, Shoreditch; St Paul’s Primary, Shadwell; Shapla Junior And Infant School, Shadwell; Sir William Burrough Primary, Limehouse; Smithy Street Primary, Stepney; Stepney Greencoat Primary; Stewart Headlam Primary, Bethnal Green; Thomas Buxton Junior, Whitechapel; Wellington Primary, Bow; William Davis Primary, Bethnal Green; Woolmore Primary, Poplar; Bigland Green Primary, Shadwell; Bonner Primary School, Mile End; Arnhem Wharf Primary School, Isle of Dogs; Clara Grant Primary School, Bromley-by-Bow; Alice Model Nursery School, Stepney.

Further proposals are being developed with schools and residents in the coming months.

Posted on Thursday 10th September 2020