Call for decisive action over safety outside school (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Impatient drivers endangering lives outside school
Children are continuing to be put at risk outside a school as councillors fail to take decisive action over a problem stretch of road, it is claimed.
Parents on the school run to Bancroft’s are creating queues on Whitehall Road, Woodford Green, during rush hour due to a lack of space for cars on school grounds.
But there are fears there could be an accident as frustrated drivers move into the opposite lane and speed over a zebra crossing outside the school.
The highways team assisted the school in putting together a proposal which would remove an island from the centre of the zebra crossing.
They proposed allowing traffic to travel through its grounds, but this would mean when exiting the school, cars would not be able to turn right and over the zebra crossing unless the island was removed.
The council rejected the proposal on the basis that the £6,000 removal of the island would cause safety risks.
Vicky Babbs, 46, who walks her daughter to nearby Wells Primary School, has been working with the school and the council's highways department to try and find a solution.
Mrs Babbs, of Forest Road, said: “Last week cars on Whitehall Road decided they couldn’t possibly wait so pulled out and I watched over nine cars speed the wrong way over the crossing closely followed by the 179 bus.
“I don’t envy anyone having to explain, to the parent of an injured, or worse, child, why they chose to do nothing when they have all known this has been happening for many months and have had clear and concise evidence.
“What damage could those cars do – never mind the 179 bus – to a young child on a supposed safe crossing? It is pure luck there hasn’t been a head on collision.”
“It is the council’s job to help find a solution and make it happen – right now I feel we have hit a brick wall.”
The school has previously worked with the council and parents to try and alleviate the problem with cycling schemes and walking-to-school initiatives, but acknowledge something still needs to be done.
School deputy head, Marwan Mikdadi, said: "In January TFL and the Metropolitan Police said the proposal was fine, as well as the council's own highways team.
"I am not sure what else we can do now but we will continue to work with the highways team to find a solution.
"We have yet to be told why the council rejected the proposals and what they were referring to as "safety risks".
"We had architects draw up the changes in the school grounds to accomodate the traffic and we found a great solution to the problem."
Cllr Linda Hoggett, of Monkhams ward, said: “We have to come up with something that works for everybody.
“We have to ensure we are pleasing everybody so we do not end up paying more and creating more problems down the line.”
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