A new ‘Walk with me’ campaign has been launched in Wisbech to try to improve safety around two schools amid fears a child could be seriously injured if action is not taken.
Launched on the back of the Colville and Trafford Road Traffic Calming Group, the new initiative sees residents, parents and staff at the Clarkson Infants and Nursery School and St Peters’ Junior School coming together to find a way of reducing the volume of traffic at the school in the mornings and afternoons.
Emma Barnard, who was one of those behind the new initiative, lives in Trafford Road and claims there is a real danger of a child getting hurt if nothing is done to improve parking and driving near the Clarkson Infants School.
“The school is located in a Trafford Park which is a dead end and is basically a bottle neck, which becomes really congested at school start and finish times. We have cars parking all over the place, cars mounting the pavement to turn rouns - it really is dangerous.
“I personally have witnessed numerous near misses and it is only a matter of time before a child gets hurt.
“Walk with me is the name of our campaign and it is aimed at encouraging as many parents as possible to leave the car at home and walk their children to school. We are not naive, we realise there are parents who need to drive to school because they have to shoot off to work after dropping the children off.
“So we are not saying nobody must drive, we are just asking parents to think about how and where they park and not to mount the pavements to turn round,” said Emma, who is a mother herself.
“It really is gridlock, and to be honest there is no easy solution. There is no alternative area nearby where we can ask parents to park up and then walk their children the rest of the way to school. There is already lots of residents parking and there is not many houses with off-road parking which just adds to the problem,” said Emma.
“What we are aiming to do is work with residents, parents and the school to try to find solutions such asa park and stride initiative. But we want people to join us in coming up with ways of improving safety - we want to get everyone involved in this, because it affects everyone and that includes residents who have to put up with all the traffic,” she said.
On Thursday a local firm GB Diggers presented the school with 300 hi-vis tabbards for the infants children to help make them more visible. There are plans to find something similar for the older St Peter’s School pupils such as bag reflectors.
Pupils are actively involved and recently took part in a competition to design the ‘Walk with me’ logo, which is to be mounted on signs near the schools.
The traffic calming group carry out regular speedwatch sessions and are pushing for a 20mph speed limit.