Traffic and Parking Issues
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Dear parents and carers
I read an article recently that referred to new research showing that 1200 children a month are involved in collisions within 500 metres of the school gates. A month! ‘School run’ child casualties, defined as accidents occurring between 7.30 and 8.58am and 3.00 and 4.59pm accounted for roughly one third of all child casualties in the year. Of the 6645 school run casualties in 2011, 804 were deaths or serious injuries.
I am writing to you today for your support in our campaign to improve the safety of the roads that surround our school. The article I read really shocked me and made me think, are we going to wait until one of our children is seriously injured or even worse before we start taking some proactive action?
As you know, many of us have had an on-going concern outside our school with regards to traffic issues.
There are two continuous problems we are facing on a daily basis:
- The first being the volume of traffic in our local community particularly at dropping off and picking up times. I have noticed an increase in car usage in the last four years, and our in-school analysis of our catchment area shows that more children are choosing to come to our school from further afield, and so probably need to use their car to get their children to school. However, I am also concerned that the route passed our school is used as a cut through from Liverpool Road to the by-pass and vice-versa, thus increasing the volume of traffic in our local area.
- The second problem is the unsafe parking of a very small minority of our parents at dropping off time. We have the road markings outside school to prevent cars parking close to the school gates and causing a health and safety issue, our children being the most important thing for all of us, however some parents still choose to park on these lines, or they use the entrance to the school gates to drop off or do a u-turn. Also, there is no legal reason why cars can not park on the corner opposite the school gates but this causes a traffic issue, as well as the number of children that are walking out into Oaklands Drive between the parked cars and who are unable to see traffic coming from both directions. I have on a number of occasions had to call out to a child to stop as a car pulls away from this area.
So, how can we tackle these two things? I am currently in discussions with a group of Year 6 pupils from our Pupil Leadership Team, and we are putting some plans together.
We are writing letters to our local Penwortham councillors, to our local police and to the Lancashire County Council Road and Transport Safety Team to make them aware of our concerns and to ask for their help and advice. I have already spoken to our local PCSOs and they are both proactively going to back our campaign and I received an email from Penwortham Town Council before Christmas to say they are going to increase the Parking Enforcement Patrols in our area. I have noted the traffic enforcement officer on his moped in our area on a more regular basis than previous.
We ultimately want a reduction in the traffic using Oaklands Drive and Whitefield Road, and we want some support in deterring the very small minority of parents from putting their child and all our Whitefield children at risk by parking inconsiderately and dangerously.
We have listed ideas that we would like to discuss with the three groups above. These include:
- Double yellow lines outside school
- A visual presence around school from the police/PCSOs and/or Parking Enforcement Officers
- A speedometer sad/smiley face
- Some roads being designated one-way to support traffic flow
What can you do to help us?
I know from regular conversations I have with many of you that this is as much a concern for you as it is for us in school so please:
- Let me know if you would like to actively help with our campaign – you may not be able to physically help but letting us know we have your support would be just as good. And if you are available to join our campaign, please let me know and I can then get in touch with you when we have meetings planned.
- Let us know if you have any other ideas we can think about that may have an impact.
- As well as contacting the police, please inform the school should you have a near miss or observe what you consider to be inappropriate driving. We can then collate a log of issues to help in our campaign with the police, local council and transport team.
We will keep you regularly updated with our progress as we move through this year.
In the mean time, drive carefully (remember we are a 20mph zone as ‘20 is plenty near our school’) and park sensibly.
Mrs S C Foster