Anyone who lives in an area near a school will read this article with a nodding head!
By Derek Ashenden, prospective candidate for Riverview in the 2019 Gravesham Borough Council elections
Most schools in Kent were built in the mid 1960’s to late1970’s when cars were certainly not the normal means of getting to school.This has changed over the last decade and combined with the huge growth in licensed vehicles it is should be no surprise that the school run has become a issue for many. In 1970 there were13 million licensed vehicles in the UK by 2010 it had grown to 35 million.
Having lived on Riverview park for over 36 years in a road that feeds a school I have witnessed this first hand. Cimba Wood as most roads on Riverview Park were never designed for more than one vehicle per household with many with shared drives. For health & safety reasons the road that normally gave a suitable drop off point had crash barriers installed and so the drop off vehicles moved on with one of the roads being effected was Cimba Wood.
Cars parking on drives, the blocking of drives, angry parents swearing and tooting of car horns had become the norm. I sent my first letter of complaint to GBC in 2011. I did receive a reply being told that this was a KCC highways issue. A big concern apart from the above for the residents of Cimba Wood was inconsiderate parking on a green which was also on a bend causing a blind spot and in the winter months causing a muddy mess along the road and eventually being walked into their homes.
In 2013 I arranged a meeting with the residents of Cimba Wood our MP (Adam Holloway) the management of GBC, KCC and the school. Budget restrictions was given as a reason why nothing could be done by the KCC and GBC. However the school wrote to all of the parents and for a short while the situation improved, but this slipped back to as before. In 2014 I complained again to the KCC and on their web site supplied photos as evidence and in March 2015 the bend had a raised kerb installed by KCC highways.
This resulted in not only making it safer for the school children but the green has gone from an eyesore to a pleasant area with seasonal tulips a crocuses on display.
Protecting school children and managing the areas that surround a school is a continuous process and some still choose to ignore the yellow lines. However in 2017 the adjoining road St. Francis Avenue had a Zebra crossing installed which has also improved safety.
These are just some of the schemes and ideas that was brought to my attention while researching and looking for a solution and should be considered by schools and communities in an area of a school. Car sharing, walking groups, school breakfast clubs, park and stride, yellow lines with warden controlling. If you are looking for a KCC highways improvement photos and evidence is an important element and finally persistence and more persistence.