A councillor is calling for a road to be closed outside a Brighton primary to make it safer for children at the start and end of the school day.
Labour councillor Nick Childs said: “Dangerous driving and parking outside the school has become an increasing issue.
“With rising stress levels and flaring tempers, we have seen staff being abused when trying to manage the situation and – most scarily of all – the lives of our children being put at risk.
“This can’t continue.”
Councillor Childs has started a petition calling for Park Street to be closed outside Queen’s Park Primary School.
He said: “In September Brighton and Hove City Council introduced a successful road closure scheme across 14 schools, including neighbouring St Luke’s School, in which roads adjacent to the school entrance are closed during drop off and pick up times.
“Without exception, all schools report increased safety and a positive impact of the programme.
“Queen’s Park School was recently informed that there is not enough funding available to extend the scheme to our school.
“Why is the safety of our children less important?”
The brief twice-daily closures would be part of the “School Streets” project. When it started in September, the council said: “The project will see temporary timed closures of roads close to schools’ entrances during drop-off and pick-up times during term time.”
Councillor Childs, who represents Queen’s Park ward on the council, said that part of Queen’s Park Rise was already closed outside St Luke’s Primary School at the other end of the park.
He said: “The situation at Queen’s Park School needs to be urgently addressed.
“I, along with the Queen’s Park School community, have been calling on the council to act and we have the volunteers to run the scheme.
“I cannot understand why a school at one end of Queen’s Park has safe streets but not at the other. It is nonsensical.
“We have already seen how the school road closure at St Luke’s School and 13 others in the city have improved safety.
“They have also created a space where children are free to use the road in the morning and after school and it has been lovely for the school communities in question.
“Safer school streets is about putting children first and encouraging active travel and a sense of community.
“The cost of operating the scheme at the school is very minimal but the value added is enormous.
“I hope as many local people as possible will sign our petition and call on the council to act without delay.”
In May last year St Luke’s trialled the first experimental “School Streets” day.
And in November last year, Sarah Kingdom spoke on behalf of fellow parents at Westdene Primary School, in Bankside, Brighton, asking the council for timed school street closures as pioneered by Hackney council in London.
Six months ago, in June, the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee approved the first wave of road closures outside schools.
The decision was taken after the government called on councils to encourage active travel during the covid-19 pandemic.
Queen’s Park School governor Ingrid Laycock said that the school had hoped to be included when the wider project started in September but the council said that it did not enough funding.
She said: “The parking situation around the school has become increasingly dangerous for our children.
“Our school staff are working 24/7 to keep everyone safe in school during the pandemic and they have gone above and beyond to maintain safety outside the gates.
“But frankly, this is unsustainable, in particular since we have had increasing incidences of heightened tensions and anti-social behaviour.
“The School Streets scheme is a success for the 14 schools it has been introduced to – and we worked on the assumption that it would be extended to our school in October.
“Being told that there is not enough funding to do so posed the question whether the safety of our children is less important.
“We need help to manage the situation – and this seems to be a sustainable solution.”
The Queen’s Park School Streets petition currently has 84 signatures and is open until Monday 18 January when it is due to go before the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.
Councillor Childs is also calling for a pedestrian crossing in Carlton Hill to help pupils at the nearby school to cross the road safely.
He said: “The road is extremely hazardous for families accessing the school.
“Cars speed down the hill and the risks discourage parents allowing their children to walk to school as well creating a hostile environment for walkers and cyclists.”
Even though crossings and traffic calming measures tend to be prioritised at accident black spots, Councillor Childs is pushing for parents’ support in the hope that a safer crossing might prevent accidents in future.
The Carlton Hill petition also has 84 signatures.
To sign the petitions, go to https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgePetitionListDisplay.aspx?bcr=1.
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