Croydon Council is looking to roll-out more “car exclusion zones” around primary schools in the borough, following successful trials in Coulsdon and Selhurst during the past year.
Woodcote Primary in Coulsdon and Heavers Farm Primary and St Chad’s Catholic Primary, both in Selhurst, have operated pedestrian zones during the school run since last September, and those schemes are set to be made permanent following a decision at a Town Hall meeting last week.
Parents, teachers, residents, the police and local councillors had all raised concerns about safety immediately outside the schools during the twice daily school run. The schools involved in the trials tended to be on narrow streets, where existing parking restrictions were often ignored by drivers, causing gridlock.
The new restrictions stop most vehicles from accessing the roads where the schools are located during the morning and afternoon rush hours, in turn forcing parents to walk their children to the school, rather than dropping them off at the school gate.
“I am really encouraged by the effect the scheme has had, with evidence fewer children are being driven to school as a result of this pilot,” Stuart King, the Labour-run council’s cabinet member for transport, said.
“At one school, almost two-thirds of pupils are now walking, cycling or scooting to school, compared with barely half this time last year.
“I am delighted all three schools have confirmed the environment immediately outside the school gate has improved and become safer following the introduction of the scheme.”
Susan Papas, the executive headteacher of Heavers Farm and Selsdon Primary schools, said: “Since the implementation of the pilot scheme, we have noticed a significant decrease in cars that drive and park up the road.
“The residents have mentioned the street has become quieter during the ‘school run’ periods and it is now much safer for both parents and children to walk up the road.”
Last week’s council transport management committee discussed the three trial schemes and agreed to make them permanent, while undertaking to examine the feasibility of introducing similar car-free zones around other schools which might apply for the measure.
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The zone in Selhurst may have saved the local residents in side roads from having to put up with loads of cars, but it causes chaos on Selhurst Road with cars trying to pull in and out and parents getting children out road-side in heavy traffic. Although I think it’s a good idea to keep roads clear around schools it simply moves the problem further out. Railings have been erected outside Chestnut Park Primary on St James’s Road as cars used to park on the pavement outside but now the parents just park on the pavement further down the road where the railings end.