A play street is a community or school-led initiative to close a road for a few hours either as a one-off event or a regular activity. This reclaims the road from vehicles and means children can play safely in the road together.
A play street gives children a chance to play and make friends on their street and adults the opportunity to socialise with their neighbours in a car-free environment.
We support play streets where we can by:
We can permit temporary street closures at regular weekly or monthly intervals. We can also provide support, advice and guidance to residents who want to introduce a play street to their community.
Local parents and residents volunteer to manage the closure process from start to finish, but we will offer guidance along the way. Volunteers must manage:
The road will be closed to traffic and the area should be kept as car-free as possible. If a resident needs to drive to and from their home, volunteers should guide them slowly through the play street at walking pace.
Play streets allow children to:
Play streets give adults the opportunity to:
To avoid vehicles driving down closed streets, the play streets are very clearly marked out with road cones and volunteer marshals.
Play streets also make it more difficult for strangers to interfere as parents are always out on the street during the sessions. Neighbours will get the chance to know each other better and it becomes easier to spot strangers and monitor their behaviour.
We offer the following opportunities to run play streets:
You can find more information about each type of play street below, but the same application process and guidance notes apply.
A school play street is a regular road closure for two to three hours at the end of the school day on a school road.
The aim is to give children and parents an opportunity to reclaim the school street to stay and play with their friends in a safe environment. Chalk, games, and activities may be offered for children to use in the street.
Initially, we will support schools to participate in car-free summer events where schools will be able to organise and manage street closures during July. The school will choose the exact dates.
Depending on the level of interest, we may need to place a limit on the number of applications we approve for this event. We will prioritise applications based on similar criteria used for the assessment of the Healthy School Streets project.
Schools participating in the summer play street initiatives will be awarded extra points in the selection process for the school streets programme.
Car Free Day is an annual event, taking place this year on Sunday 22 September. It is a free event where Londoners are encouraged to leave their car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport. Communities and schools are also invited to run street parties on their road.
Some communities have expressed an interest in having a regular closure to facilitate a play street, such as once a week or month. We support this initiative, but regular play streets require a much higher level of commitment from volunteers.
You can find more information about applying to close a street in the guidance notes at the bottom of this page.
You must ask us if the road is suitable to be closed temporarily for a play street. The street must meet key criteria, including not being on a main road, a bus route or an emergency services route. See the guidance notes for more information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if your road is suitable.
You’ll have to:
If there are any objections from your neighbours that you cannot resolve, refer them to us and we will make a decision about the dispute. You must attach a copy of all objections to your application.
Submit your completed application by email to email@example.com, noting the deadlines.
Once we have approved your application, you should contact the volunteers and those interested to meet and plan the event. You should leaflet all properties along the road that will be closed with details of:
You must do a risk assessment. A few days before the event, you should post copies of the road closure notice around the street and at the closure points. Finally, you must arrange delivery of barriers and other materials.
You will need to send an email confirmation that the application requirements are in place and all safety requirements have been met, such as number of marshals, signs and barriers being used.
We will send you the closure notice, then you can run the event and have fun! If you need it, we can give you more guidance about running a play street.
If you are interested in participating in any of the above initiatives and have read through the guidance notes, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on twitter and join the conversation by using #carfreefriday and #carfreesummer.