A resident has described the likelihood of a serious incident occurring as 'inevitable' after witnessing dangerous driving outside a primary school in Aylesbury on a daily basis for over a year.
The Bucks Herald was contacted by a concerned resident of Hazell Avenue who's own home security cameras have recorded the regular traffic chaos at the end of the school day, including one occasion when a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle and countless other near misses, many involving young children.
In their original email to us, the resident wrote:
“When the inevitable happens, no doubt the cry will go up 'we must learn from this'. Well prevention is better than the cure so why not do something now?”
Another email containing some of the photographs shown here was titled 'Kids in danger'.
The school gates for St Joseph's Infant School and St Edwards Junior School are at the end of Hazell Avenue – a narrow road and a cul-de-sac – that quickly becomes a single-track road when parents park up to collect their children from school.
'No parking' has been painted on the road surface but this seems to be largely ignored.
Once a child has been picked up, cars then need to turn around in order to exit Hazell Avenue. This can only be done in front of the school gates since the road is too narrow elsewhere. The result is a procession of cars swinging around, reversing backwards and forwards, while young children attempt to dodge them as they exit the school.
'No turning' signs are present on Hazell Avenue but these too appear to have little or no impact on driver behaviour.
Worryingly, this paper has also seen video footage of cars tailgating others onto the school grounds through the remote controlled security gates.
We sent some of the evidence we've seen to Bucks County Council and shared our concerns.
A Transport for Bucks (TfB) spokesperson responded:
“TFB is aware of the issues at this school site. There is an ongoing problem with poor and inconsiderate driver behaviour associated with parents picking up and dropping off children for school. This is all too common a problem at many schools throughout the country, though the nature of this site itself makes this more problematical as there is no turning area for any cars that have entered the road.
“There are clear signs indicating “No Turning” and “No Parking”, but these are advisory only. Disappointingly, a number of drivers are ignoring them. There is the potential for the use of new parking restrictions and bollards to help reduce this issue, if this is viewed as a local priority for funding via the Local Area Forum and the local Councillor. However, these measures alone are unlikely to resolve the problem completely, as drivers will still try to turn in drive entrances and the transitory nature of school-drop off makes enforcement difficult. Better driver education and helping parents dropping their children here by car understand that their actions are potentially putting other children at risk, is needed and we would hope that this includes your readers being made aware of this issue.”
The headteacher of St. Joseph's Infant School, Ann Taylor, also told us the following:
“Parking and traffic has been a constant issue for us as the site and entrances are shared by two schools - St Joseph’s Infant and St Edwards Junior.
We are also in close proximity to Turnfurlong Infant and Juniors, Aylesbury High and Grammar and the Grange - traffic from all schools affects the roads and paths around us.
St Josephs and St Edwards have tried many initiatives and many of them are on-going.”
Some of the initiatives listed were; requesting visits from the PSCO's to monitor traffic, a request for yellow lines (which was declined), encouraging walking to school and careful parking, children working with local councillors to design safety posters, parents invited to sign up to a 'parent parking promise,' and liaising with residents and local taxi companies.