Following concerns over traffic, parking and child safety issues at Churchfields Junior School, Councillor Rosa Gomez (Churchfields, Labour) explains why she would like more children to arrive on foot
Many parents have contacted me to say how concerned they are about child safety outside Churchfields Junior School. The road itself is very busy with lots of traffic. Unfortunately, some parents are adding to these risks by driving up to the school gates and parking dangerously as they drop off children.
In response, I organised a morning visit outside the school with Head Teacher Julie Anderson and colleagues from Redbridge Council’s Highways Department so we could see exactly what the situation is like and discuss solutions. I also spoke to parents so I could better understand their concerns. As someone who is registered blind, I use a personal assistant in my job as a councillor. My assistant described to me what was going on so I was able to appreciate how haphazard the parking was and just how hectic the whole area was at that time of day. As you can see from the photograph above, cars are mounting the kerb and blocking the pavement: evidence of how dangerous it is for children trying to walk safely on the pavement, let alone cross the road!
It was clear to all of us that a coordinated approach to reducing car traffic was needed to ensure children’s safety. And luckily, the council has recently launched a consultation about a new pilot scheme which will do just that. The Redbridge Schools Clean Air Zones will filter traffic surrounding some schools during drop-off and pick-up times, so the streets can only be accessed by cyclists and pedestrians during those periods, unless vehicles receive an exemption.
It will start in streets surrounding SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School and Gordon Primary school in Ilford, and I have been assured that streets surrounding Churchfields Junior School are also being considered. I am determined to support parents in this issue to ensure children can get to and from school safely.
Please do take up the opportunity to take part in the consultation and say what you think and help us to make sure Redbridge can become a safer and healthier place for our children, young people and all of us.
These schemes will also help tackle air pollution. A number of studies have shown evidence of increases in childhood asthma linked to pollution. So, reducing pollution is also critical to children’s health. More than 70% of Redbridge school-aged children live within one mile of their school, and the council is working hard to help children and families find healthier and safer ways to travel there – like walking, cycling or scooting.