In #h2020PROSPECT we organise and facilitate a 6-month-long learning program. Mentors and mentees need to apply well in advance, be matched with each other and attend online sessions before they get to go to a physical visit.
Those visits offer the opportunity for deeper exchange, see how in practice the solution has been implemented. At the end of March 2020, a PROSPECT physical meeting was supposed to take place in London Borough of Croydon. Instead, the PROSPECT facilitator, Bernadett Köteles-Degrendele (EUROCITIES) was in her home in Belgium; the mentee, Dionysis Kouvelas from the municipality of Messini was in his home in Greece and the mentor stayed in Croydon. This way, the learning opportunity was not lost.
Curious to know what was this learning about?
At PROSPECT, which is a project focussing on peer to peer learning on innovative financing, we have been pleased to see a mentor in the field of transport. Many cities and regions expressed interest in learning about this field, and the case of London Borough of Croydon is very interesting.
The Croydon School Street and Traffic Access Restrictions project has been presented by Ben Kennedy and Frede Jensen who are working directly for the borough. They explained that the project was initiated in response to requests for the council to improve road safety and reduce congestion in the vicinity of the school gates. Public opinion no longer tolerates traffic and parking congestion or air pollution, particularly near schools. Traditional parking enforcement proves ineffective near schools. Croydon Parking Services operate camera enforcement of decriminalised parking and traffic contraventions: 105,000 parking contraventions and 80,000 moving traffic contraventions.
Local authorities have a duty to exercise powers to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicles and other traffic, including pedestrians, and taking into consideration the national air quality strategy.
The ‘School Streets’ are designated as ‘Pedestrian and Cycle Zones’ except permitted residents during school opening and closing times. Any other vehicle that drives in during these times is sent a £130 fine. It is enforced by traffic cameras with automatic number plate technology. The results have been dramatic decreases in road congestion and increases in children walking and cycling to school.
Croydon has now introduced 11 School Street schemes, covering 16 schools, with the next 10 schemes under development. The plan is to reach 50 schemes by 2023. The income generated from the enforcement fines is invested in expanding the School Streets network.
It was particularly interesting to hear:
It was a different experience than being there, but we were all happy with the result. The mentee learnt a lot and can move on to developing a similar scheme in his municipality.
As the next step, we are working on an action plan with the mentee. This way, we can also help other cities, municipalities and regions.
Are you one of those who need some inspiration for a similar type of project?
We will organise webinars where you can directly get in touch with experienced mentors in this field or similar ones.
You can also join our group here on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13544167/