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No cars go: ‘School streets’ announced in Kingston

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A number of car-free ‘School Streets’ will be created in Kingston for the reopening of some primary school classes on June 1.

They will be accessible to pedestrians and bicycles only during drop-off and pick up times as Kingston Council (RBK) seeks to ease the reopening of primary schools following the quarantine measures imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.

A spokesperson for RBK outlined the measures in a statement released earlier today (May 29).

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“On Monday 1 June school streets will be in operation for St Paul’s Primary School on Alexandra Road and Alexandra Primary School on Princes Road, in North Kingston, and from Tuesday 2 June for Castle Hill Primary School on Buckland Road in Chessington.

“School streets close the roads outside schools to motor traffic during drop-off and pick-up times, creating a pedestrian and cycle only zone.

“The additional space will enable social distancing while waiting, walking, cycling and scooting, as well as reducing road danger and improving air quality,” the statement read.

RBK meanwhile revealed that a ‘trial’ School Street they had helped set up outside Lovelace Primary School on Mansfield Road, Chessington from October 2019 had been a success and helped inform their current model.

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The trial had “already seen positive improvements in the local neighbourhood, with an increase in sustainable travel to and from school, reduction of poor parking and improvement in air quality,” the council said.

The government announced previously that some age groups in primary schools should recommence classes from June 1, but their decision met with considerable resistance from parents and teachers across the UK.

Many schools and teachers representatives have said they will continue remote learning until the coronavirus risk is lower than it currently is.

A report published by the state’s independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) suggested recently that the reopening of primary schools on June 1 could raise the “R” rate of coronavirus infection in the UK by up to 0.3, possibly enough to return Britain to a state of spiralling Covid-19 infections.

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