Please help our traffic problems

May 10 2016

AN EASTVILLE primary school has written to Bristol City Council to ask why nothing has been done to help pupil safety despite first complaining about traffic problems two years ago.

may park school parking problems

AN EASTVILLE primary school has written to Bristol City Council to ask why nothing has been done to help pupil safety despite first complaining about traffic problems two years ago.
Pupil numbers at May Park Primary have increased considerably in recent years, leading to extra traffic along the narrow roads which surround the school.
Staff were so concerned about a child getting seriously hurt that they carried out a risk assessment which identified a ‘serious risk’ of accident.
The main problem is the width of Coombe Road, which is too narrow for two vehicles to pass safely. This causes severe congestion as well as frayed tempers.
Despite a petition signed by more than 150 staff and parents and a five-point action plan put forward by the school, nothing has been done.
Deputy headteacher Stuart Albery said near misses occur on a daily basis: “We’ve begged the council for action and have been asking them for two years to do something.
“We’ve had people from the council come here and scratch their heads and say something could be done but they just go away and nothing gets done.
“Meanwhile the traffic is getting worse and worse. It’s dangerous out there but we’ve got no flashing signs, no zebra crossing and no road calming measures in place. We’re a big school but the infrastructure can’t cope.”
The school currently has 700 pupils and has the capacity to take on a further 90 which would bring the school up to the size of many secondary schools.
The school’s action plan requested:
• The introduction of a one-way system, possibly up Coombe Road and down Freeland Buildings
• A pelican crossing outside the school across East Park Road
• Replacing the white zig-zag road markings with enforceable yellow ones
• Extending the zig-zags significantly further along East Park Road
• Increasing the height of the raised speed table outside the school as the current low level one is ineffective
The council has dismissed some of the suggestions, saying the site “would not meet the strict criteria needed for the installation of a pelican crossing” and that the speed table in front of the school “meets regulations” and cannot be raised any further.
The authority also told Mr Albery that it would be very unusual for the authority to change the flow of traffic to create a one way system and if they did, it would take a long time for it to happen.
But Mr Albery said it hasn’t been fully explained why these traffic calming measures can’t be implemented.
“The council says they can’t raise the speed table but it makes no sense to me. It’s barely a hump at all. Likewise they haven’t explained why a pelican crossing wouldn’t meet the criteria. Just put one in!”
Problems have been exasperated because the council has yet to replace the school’s crossing patrol person who left several months ago, although it is believed the post has been advertised.
Mr Albery said he feels the school, pupils and parents have done everything in their power to help the situation.
“We’ve done everything we can. We did an online petition and created a travel plan to engage our parents and encourage them to walk to school. We used to have people who lived nearby driving to school but now wherever possible parents and pupils are doing their bit and walking or cycling or parking further away. We provide our children with hi-vis bands and jackets and have really good bike sheds, which are being used. We’ve also been working with Sustrans to teach children about safety and road awareness.
“We’re doing our bit but it’s very frustrating because nothing has been done on the council’s part. Every day our parents say to us ‘What’s going on? When will something get done?’ Near misses happen daily and it really is just a matter of time before there is an accident.”
Mr Albery said May Park feels like the poor relation when compared with other schools.
“We look at other local schools and they seems to have all sorts of flashing lights and zebra crossings but we feel really overlooked and ignored. We contact Bristol City Council all the time but find it so hard to get responses from them. When they came out recently there was talk of limited funds and limited budgets but this is essential - we are talking road safety for children so that’s not much of an excuse. We’re trying not to be melodramatic but it’s scary out there and we are really worried.”
A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “We are working with May Park Primary School on a number of practical road safety educational activities, including speed awareness and pedestrian training. Following a visit to the school last September, our road safety team is investigating parking restrictions and adjustments to the school crossing patrol site so it is more visible to motorists.
“Requests for further highway measures have been forwarded to the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership to consider. Bristol’s neighbourhood partnerships are given money every year for traffic schemes to improve community wellbeing and safety.”

Dear Bristol City Council,

“Please can we ask someone to come out and review the traffic situation outside May Park Primary School as a matter of urgency?
“Last year a few suggestions were put forward about improving the dangerous situation outside our school. The safety provision is woefully inadequate compared to our other local schools. Our parents complain about the danger daily and ask what is being done.
“We still have two years of growth with additional capacity for 90 more pupils, so the situation will only get worse.
“We are working really hard on our travel plan, doing our bit; we would appreciate your support asap.”

Stuart Albery
Deputy headteacher
May Park  Primary School