This week, we have been collecting your #schoolrunstories for our little pop-up campaign "Stories From The School Run". This week's post has photos by my daughter, Rosie (7) and it shows her typical journey.
The school run to our local primary school has always been on foot for Rosie as it was for her brother now at secondary school and as it will be for her little sister in a couple of years. Our walk is just under 500 metres and it takes about 6 minutes.
The walk is normally pleasant as the little ones blast along on their scooters, buggies are pushed and the kids skip along. There is the occasional bike, but it is always being ridden on the footway and as we get close to the school, it is obvious why;
As we approach the school, the normally (relatively) quiet road (despite feeding 3 industrial estates) starts to fill up with cars and pretty much all of them are dropping kids off.
Par for the course, fellow parents blocking driveways. Amazingly, we are walking through a footway parking bay which isn't being used (it's normally full).
The parking on the far side of the road pushes traffic closer to the kerb which is not particularly pleasant. We do have yellow lines at the junctions which are generally respected and so makes it easier to see when crossing the side roads.
We are running a little late which is why the footway isn't that busy (Rosie was on time though!). As well as feeding the industrial estate with lorries the road is a bus route; so the traffic calming is designed for large vehicles. There are no humps as HGVs and humps don't mix without causing noise and vibration. Note the blue car in the distance.
The traffic calming is priority pinch points. The parking helps clog them up and people have to drive very slowly which is perhaps a good thing!
We are starting to get parking on both sides now and still plenty of parents driving off after delivering their kids to school.
Remember the blue car? Yes, it was "parked" like that.
As we reach the school gate, the obligatory car parked on the zig-zags of the zebra crossing on the right hand side of the photograph.
I think the photos are fairly representative of what it's like to walk to our local school. The vast majority of kids walk and scoot, but the road outside is completely clogged up by a relatively small minority of parents.
It's the age old problem of people having busy lives and many dropping the kids off as they are going on to work after. They are driving because there is no real alternative for them and so their behaviour impacts on everyone else who is not driving. Perhaps if people parked further away and walked for 5 minutes, there might be a bit more space which could be re-purposed for walking and cycling? Welcome to Suburbia.