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Measures to help make roads safer outside an Ironbridge school have been completed, with plans for more improvements in the pipeline.
It comes after a child was hit by a car on a zebra crossing close to Coalbrookdale & Ironbridge CE Primary School in December last year.
The incident sparked calls from Headteacher, Sue Blackburn and Councillor Nicola Lowery for the exit and approach to the school to be made safer for pupils.
In a bid to combat road safety fears, a flashing school zone signing on the roads to the school were installed along with road marking warning signs on Buildwas Road and Dale End.
Telford & Wrekin Council is also planning to upgrade street lighting near the school and to the current zebra crossing. A completion date for these works is yet to be confirmed.
Parents were asked for their thoughts on what road safety improvements could be made and were sent letters with a survey attached. Suggestions included extended railings, a lollipop crossing and posters designed by children to deter inappropriate parking.
Investment to Improve Road Safety Outside Schools
The scheme ties in with the Council’s £600,000 investment to improve safety outside schools in the county and is part of the Pride in Our Community capital programme for 2019/19.
Councillor Hilda Rhodes, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Transport, said: “The safety of everyone arriving and leaving the school at both ends of the day is the most important consideration when determining what measures we introduce.
“What we are proposing should significantly improve the visibility of the school area to raise awareness to drivers.
“We are happy to continue to work with the school to look at future measures as well as carrying out any necessary road safety education or creating a walking bus facility.
“We also plan to set up a joint stakeholder meeting in February to co-ordinate and discuss aspirations for school safety in the area.”
Councillor Lowery, ward member for the Ironbridge Gorge, said: “We hope that the first phase of works will greatly improve the visibility of the School Safety Zone, which hopefully will ensure people are significantly more aware that they are approaching our school.
"The new signage and road markings are a great first step forward and will hopefully improve safety in this busy part of the Gorge to and from school.
“Many people within our community have contacted me regarding safety in this area and this has been a very collaborative process to ensure we as a community succeed in making important enhancements to safety to keep our families safe in Coalbrookdale.
"This is the first stage of work to improve road safety and work on this continues to ensure we explore additional measures and aspirations for school safety."
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Road Safety Consultation for Lawley School
The Council is consulting on road safety improvements outside a school in Lawley.
A public consultation was launched on 7th February 2019 to improve pedestrian safety near Lawley Primary School in Telford.
In September 2018, speed indicator devices were installed outside the school on Pepper Mill after the school raised concerns. Now motorists will have their speed flashed upon their approach, with a smiley face if they are travelling at the right speed and a sad face if they are not.
While the school is happy with the effectiveness of the speed indicators, they remain concerned about the difficulty pedestrians encounter while crossing the road. The issue has been raised with Mayor of Telford & Wrekin Councillor Raj Metha.
A proposed solution is a Zebra Crossing to make it safer for pedestrians to cross, however, it could result in the loss of two on-street car parking spaces. The Council is currently consulting with residents about this solution.
Cllr Hilda Rhodes, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for transport, roads and broadband, said: “We have worked with Lawley Primary School to come up with this proposal for improving the safety for pedestrians. Before progressing with the proposal, we are keen to hear what others think. Ultimately we want to make the route safer for all those arriving at and leaving the school, but there are pros and cons which need to be considered before a final decision can be made.”
Road Safety an Important Focus for Schools
Road safety outside of schools has long been an important issue in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. Whether it’s parking, driving speeds or pedestrian safety, there have been a number of campaigns demanding improvements to be made.
Last year parents pulled their children out of classes over fear of a dangerous road. Pupils at St Peter and St Paul Catholic School off Chetwynd Road, Newport were withdrawn over fears about crossing the road to attend a forest school class.
Parents said there wasn’t enough signage to make drivers aware school children would be crossing.
Brake released statistics showing that during 2016/2017, the number of child fatalities (aged 0-15) in Great Britain fell from 69 in 2016 to 48 in 2017. However, the highest concentration of child fatalities occurred during school leaving hours between 3pm and 5pm.
While statistics appear to be improving, there remains a focus on keeping school pupils safe on their journeys to and from school. With campaigns calling for improvements to the roads to make them safer, schools are taking on initiatives to educate pupils on road safety.
For example, in November last year, school pupils in Lilleshall embraced their creative side in a bid to make themselves seen. The decorated their coats to that they stood out while walking from school in the darker evenings.
The school pupils took part in a school competition, ‘Bling Your Coat’ with Councillor Raj Metha judging the winners.
Lilleshall Primary School feels strongly about road safety, which is especially important when some children have to walk on the road as there is no pavement.
They employ their very own Junior Road Safety Officers as part of a scheme launched by Telford & Wrekin Council.
JRSOs are school-based children who promote road safety scheme within their school. The Junior Road Safety Scheme is aimed at primary school children with 2 pupils from year 6 appointed as JRSOs. The scheme will give them the support and flexibility to explore road safety issues within school and raise awareness of road safety in their school and the community.
Safety Demand After Pupils Hit By Cars
In October 2018, a petition was launched by The Martin Wilson School and Early Years Centre demanding that the council take action after two school children were hit by traffic.
An 11-year-old was knocked off his bike on Ditherington Road and an 8-year-old boy was hit by a car as he crossed the road outside his school on New Park Road. Both children suffered bruising and shock and the incidents prompted the petition asking Shropshire Council’s Integrated Transport Team to re-evaluate their priorities.
The aim of the petition is to demand traffic calming on Sultan Road and New Park Road and lower speed restrictions and traffic calming on New Park Road outside the schools.
It said: “Putting children first should not just be the work of schools but all members of the community and those that serve us in office. Safety for children is not only impacted by lack of good traffic management, but also cuts to frontline services such as the PCSO support.”
A number of events will also highlight their concerns alongside the petition.