Loughton School : an observation of the morning school run

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The Parish Council recently received a complaint from a local resident about school drop off parking.

The resident complained :-

“The bends on Bradwell Road heading towards Linceslade Grove are generally parked up on both sides – gridlock ensued last week when a lorry was heading towards the School!

The car parks on either side of Bradwell Road are regarded by a not inconsiderable few as a second choice to parking on the pavements either side of the car parks, presumable to give a quicker getaway than the car parks. On Monday drop off there were around a dozen free parking spaces and yet four cars parked on the pavement. I have heard anecdotal complaint that when PCSOs / PCs have been at the school they have merely observed – no education and certainly no tickets. “

We discussed the problem in the full Parish Council meeting on Monday 16th October 2017 and I proposed to go down to observe the problem.

I chose the morning of Thursday 19th October because the weather forecast was for rain around the morning school drop off time and therefore I expected to see the problem at its worst.

I arrived at about 8.15am and stood near the junction of Bradwell Road where it meets Ashpole Furlong/Paynes Drive. The school gates open at about 8.30am, the doors or the school open at 8.40am and I think school starts around 8.50am.

It was cloudy and there was very light drizzle. It was quite grey so most cars still had their lights on as it seemed dark and gloomy.

From 8.15am until about 8.35am my impression was everything was going quite ok. The traffic was busy and moving with lots of bicycles, pedestrians and cars. It was busy but not gridlocked. There were lots of children of all ages making their way to Loughton and Denbigh schools. Some were on their own, some with parents, and some accompanied by young pre-school siblings.

At 8.35am, things noticeably changed and there was then what I would describe as a “mad 10 minutes”. A number of cars started to park on the pavement around the car park areas near where I was standing (on Bradwell Rd near the j/w Paynes Drive). One car parked on the zig zag lines in Paynes Drive

A Mercedes parked on the pavement – rather than using the car park – potentially forcing pedestrians into the road

A Nissan parking on the zig zag lines near Paynes Drive

A VW parked on the pavement – outside the car park

The owner of a BMW parked on the pavement outside the car park also. I offered the driver a leaflet from the Parish Council asking drivers to be considerate, which she initially refused to take. She was busy accompanying her daughter into the school and verbally abused me in front of her young child.

Another driver had parked right on the junction of Bradwell Rd and Ashpole Furlong – part on the pavement. When I spoke to that driver and pointed out that he was both blocking the pavement and creating a potential hazard for pedestrians crossing the road, and might be better to use the vacant space in the car park, he informed me he had paid his car tax and was therefore entitled to park where he liked!

By 8.50am the “moment of madness” had passed and serenity resumed.

My overall impression was that the complaint made by the resident about the parking of parents of the school making the drop-off was entirely justified. It seems parents were arriving at school at the last moment and trying to drop off their children in a great hurry and were not willing to try to consider parking in the car park but felt entitled to park on the pavements and/or close to the junctions. They seemed to be so focused on trying to do the school run in the minimum time that they were not really thinking about the safety of pedestrians, including particularly vulnerable road users, and young children.

It might help if some “no parking on the pavement” boards were erected just before the school run as well as some signs reminding parents of the importance of enabling young children to get to school and home safe and sound.

I will be passing on these observations to the management of the School and to the local traffic enforcement authorities at MK Council and Thames Valley Police. Lets hope together we can keep our children safe and avoid any serious injuries and accidents occurring.

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. I have to disagree with the content of the post. I work for TVP and have attended the school at the start of day and also at the end of the day. I have seen many cars parked, or should I say abandoned, by the school. I have often waited and spoken to the drivers and I normally receive the same comments, either, “I’ve never done this before”, or “I’m running late” and “there’s nowhere to park”.
    TVP cannot give parking tickets out, that is the job of the Council who employ contractors to issue tickets. We will always get the owner to move if its being sat in. If the vehicle is unoccupied, then the registration is taken down and a letter is sent to the keeper advising them on their parking.
    Maybe the school need to educate the parents and maybe this will prevent further issues occurring.

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