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to ask for success stories of stopping inconsiderate parking by schools?

31 replies

bikegrrl · 31/05/2011 21:39

Have namechanged to prevent outing in RL as I have agreed to look at this.

My DCs' school is plagued with people parking inconsiderately, and would rather people did not park near the school at all (narrow cul-de-sac, narrow pavements, creates conflict, discourages walking/ cycling, blah de blah).

General driving/ parking behaviour improves vastly when the police/ traffic wardens are out and about. But that's once in a blue moon. When the police aren't there, some drivers park happily on double-yellows. It doesn't need to be a lot of people to make it a problem.

Has anyone's school solved the problem of too many cars near the school? Anyone's school solved it by [whisper it!] providing a dedicated drop-off point for kids who come to school by car which doesn't bring cars into conflict with people arriving on foot? Anyone's school have no problem with cars? What makes it work?

And any European mums have anything to teach us about how they do things elsewhere?

I am not criticising people for driving their kids to school. I am looking for solutions [hopeful emoticon] to the ghastly gridlock and frayed tempers I see daily.

OP posts:

Loonytoonie · 31/05/2011 21:44

Watching this thread with interest OP - we have the exact same problem. The Head has been known to stand outside the staff car park discouraging parents from using it as a drop-off point (and causing chaos in the process - 'tis a dead end street) only to be told by many a parent to go away (in no uncertain terms). The sheer cheek of them is incredible.


BurningBridges · 31/05/2011 21:47

Really good thread - hoping some fantastic ideas come up here, but suspect more horror stories sadly.


onepieceofcremeegg · 31/05/2011 21:49

A school local to us had an ongoing issue with parents parking on the zigzags near the crossing warden. The school railings were alongside so loads of the children painted "do not park here" signs and they were put along the railings. Seemed to work mainly.

Loony re the staff car park. could they have a barrier up say from 8.30 to prevent any non-authorised from entering? If parents or children with disabilities need access the head could raise the barrier, or there could be a pass code/buzzer?

Our Head occasionally gets the police to do regular crackdowns, they are quite vigilant and do issue tickets.


KenDoddsDadsDog · 31/05/2011 21:51

My friend's school in Hartlepool has a mobile police camera that drives up and down. You get a £60 fine if caught flouting the school parking law!


Pavlovthecat · 31/05/2011 21:53

There is a van with a camera on top that drives around our schools these days 'enforcement van' or something, it drives and snaps all cars on double yellow or zigzags, or those inappropriately parking. Does nothing to stop those parking over driveways.

It stopped us Wink


spanieleyes · 31/05/2011 21:53

We have a very scary governor who tells you off for parking in the wrong placeGrin


dumbelina · 31/05/2011 21:55

The school my mum teaches at is in a cul de sac and they resorted to gates and and a swipe card for the staff car park to prevent parents using it. This just made the cul de sac hell to get into, so with agreement with the local residents they put a chain up across the end of the road half an hour before the beginning and end of the school day to stop cars coming in to the cul de sac. This has completely ended conflict and traffic directly outside the school gates.


KeepOnSwimming · 31/05/2011 21:55

As a teacher, I have had abuse from parents when I have politely asked them to park somewhere else to wait for their little darlings, rather than on the zig-zags/double yellows. I gave up trying...

Would love to know the solution!


theITgirl · 31/05/2011 21:56

It is a problem at the DC's school, but something that helps is an unofficial 'one-way system'. Parents are asked to do a circuit around the residential roads. This is not ideal as we have all of the other problems, but at least there are not cars trying to pass each other where there is only the width of 1 car available.


shrinkingnora · 31/05/2011 21:56

Got so bad by the school I work in that we named and shamed - printed pictures of the crappy parking (with the reg plates blacked out) in the newsletter. Small school so the parents were embarrassed into improving. Still needs repeating annually.

At the DD's school, the PCSOs were out daily for a week and that has improved things dramatically but I am sure it won't last.

At DS's preschool the committee patrolled and glared a lot, following reminders to parents in the newsletter.


bikegrrl · 01/06/2011 08:30

Thanks all, some interesting solutions here. Any more? [hoping to catch the daytime crowd!]

OP posts:

OddBoots · 01/06/2011 08:35

I'd love to hear answers here, on my dd's school they have started parking on yellow lines and 1/2 on the pavement, they block people's drives and ignore zig-zags all despite letters from the headteacher (and the head of the next-door infants).

There have been traffic wardens there on occasion but they turn up at 3 so people don't park that day. If they turned up at 3.25 and just took pics and actually issued tickets it might actually do something.

It drives me nuts, especially as a boy was knocked down (thankfully only getting a couple of bruises) right outside the infants the other day.


CadleCrap · 01/06/2011 08:36

My school is near a hotel - the hotel let parents park in there. Has eased it a little but there are still some parents that won't let their secondary school lazy precious children walk a further 50m


PickleSarnie · 01/06/2011 08:42

We have people double parking on the middle of a roundabout here outside the school. Literally there can be up to ten cars parked right on the middle of the roundabout. My neighbours have had their drives used by parents dropping off kids (I live on the same street as the school). The thing is, the catchement area is pretty densely populated so I can't see that it can be that big and therefore very few of the children have further than what would be a short walk to get home.


Miggsie · 01/06/2011 08:49

DD's old school had the headmaster and the school council walk round on patrol each morning which worked quite well, most parents embarassed to be seen "doing wrong" in front of a 7yo. Or having a 7yo ask them why they were parking illegally!

One parent started swearing in front of the kids and got an editorial about his behaviour in school magazine, so then the parent got the most massive hump and went round acting like a total prat. Everyone knew who he was, and avoided him after that. Alas, one cannot act against total prats.


itisnearlysummer · 01/06/2011 08:57

My DSs school had police officers/pcsos outside school issuing tickets.

Printing the registration numbers LARGE AND IN BOLD on the school newsletter.


kazwoo · 01/06/2011 08:58

DD's school has implemented a one way system for traffic during school drop off and pick up hours which eases traffic congestion. However, there are still a huge number of parents who all seem to battle to get as close to school as possible. They park on the zig zags, double yellow lines, on the wide part of the pavement opposite school, blocking the lowered curbs where people cross etc.

I can't be bothered with all the stress of dealing with that so I walk on my non working days. When I work, DD is in kids club so the traffic is minimal at pick up/drop off time.

I don't know what the answer is but I hope you find a solution that works or at least improves the current situation.


TattyDevine · 01/06/2011 09:14

I think this problem is always going to exist to an extent when you have parents who have to drive for whatever reason (perhaps they are going straight on to work or have various time constraints/children at other schools etc) and just not enough room for them to do this.

If there is a system where you have to walk your children in, or they are too young to simply drop, and you are required to be there at a certain time but not too long BEFORE that certain time, it really does make it very very difficult. Shoving zigzags and double yellows everywhere just "criminalises" the behaviour though I understand local residents need to be able to get out of the street and their house etc.

I'm sure someone will come up with something more helpful and I recognise that some of the drivers can probably walk and do behave like twats but honestly there are very few alternatives sometimes.

I can't help thinking that a system where you can pull up, drop your child off at a point nearish the school that isn't so likely to cause traffic mayhem (so not a cul-de-sac etc) to a designated adult, who there could be 5 or 6 of basically supervising the short walk into the school in "waves" like a walking bus, and that the 5 or 6 volunteers could park in the staff carpark or somewhere (i.e don't discourage people from volunteering by making it difficult for them) thus allowing parents to drop and go would solve the problem.

That's what they would have done in my day. But of course nobody wants to volunteeer because someone will brandish them a pedo, and of course they will have to be CRB checked for this simple task, and there will be parents too precious to allow their little Jocasta to use the system for whatever reason and these days it just doesn't work.

I know I just sound all negative and defeatest but really some problems can't be solved - starting/drop off time a 10 minute window, cul de sac location, working parents...what is the answer?!? If you dont' go and get a job when your kids start school you are brandished "lazy" and if you don't walk to school you are brandished "lazy" and it just makes my mind boggle. No axe to grind as my children are not yet at school but this side of it I do dread it has to be said.


TruthSweet · 01/06/2011 09:37

Our school has massive problems (effectively in a cul-de-sac as at the top of a hill on a dead end road but with a community centre so has a car park as well). The school has just painted zig-zags in front of the entrance but that seems to have made little difference. The local PCSO turns up every now and again but the parents just swear at him.

He prefers coming to our school though over the other primary on his patch - they throw stones at him at the other school. The parents that is not the children Shock

The school is hoping to open up two more gates so that parents who live at the other end of the school grounds will walk rather than drive in the hopes that will ease the congestion.

Yes, some parents who live less than 5 mins walk away drive to school which takes longer as there is a direct path from the blocks of flats to the school but not a direct road Hmm.

Also, because most people are only driving a very short distance their children aren't belted in. Lots of taxi driver parents at the school who don't even have booster cushions for their children (inc. ones going to the playschool) as they are a taxi and don't need them (yes, you do if it's your own children in your own family car Hmm they aren't paying customers).


emptyshell · 01/06/2011 09:42

Local school to us has a (locked during the day) gate through the grounds into the next door Tesco car park and just gets the parents to use that (teachers get to use a postage stamp sized carpark on the other side). Tesco get the "just nip in for a pint of milk" factor, the street the school's on gets kept relatively clear and all appears to be well.

I had a parent swear at me because my head sent a news letter out politely requesting parents parked at the Sainsburys at the top of the street and walked down - in the aftermath of a kid being hit by a car (no damage done on either side thankfully - although when the school gossips in my class got hold of the story he was run over by a bus and in intensive care with his arms and legs hanging off - but they didn't half love to embellish things my lot) in the chaos outside at drop off time. Charming creature she was. I only handed out the berluddy newsletter.

Worked at another school where parents would show up at 2pm to bagsie a pickup space (school kicked out at 3.15) and another one threatened to punch the head who went down to the pickup spaces in desperation one day and requested they didn't show up till 3pm... that place also had problems with the nearby uni students jumping in and using the carparking spaces as a free alternative to paying for the ones nearer uni - the police were regularly out there.


emptyshell · 01/06/2011 09:44

It's all reasons I would never ever ever buy a house on the same street as a school. I was running late getting in one morning (crash on one of the main roads) - had phoned in school to tell them what was going on and arrange for someone to do my registration and get the kids into assembly and I arrived at school run time.

Last time I saw driving and parking like it they were chasing a pigeon in Wacky Races.


lambethlil · 01/06/2011 10:04

PCSO is definitely the answer.

OP asked if any MNers had overseas experience, I once got a (well deserved) fine for parking on the zig zags by a crossing in Australia and I read a heartfelt plea from the director of the Maternelle on holiday in France detailing exactly the same problems as faced by primaries in the UK.

My DCs went to primary in very congested, residential central London and solutions to parking/dropoff/collection included staggered drop off- DCs were welcomed and supervised from 8, registered at 8.30 and walkie talkie at the end of the day, so you could pull up and grab.

The trouble with increasing capacity is that 'drop offers' who previously walked will drive if its easier, and the problem will develop again.


sunnydelight · 01/06/2011 10:10

We're in Oz and it is physically impossible for any pupil to walk to our school which is down a narrow lane in the middle of the bush so for those who don't use the school buses (strongly encouraged) there is an area for kiss and drop in the morning and drive through in the afternoon. Every parent who uses is it issued with a card with their kids' names/classes on it to be displayed on the dash, the kids who are being picked up are brought to the area by their teachers in the afternoon, one teacher has a megaphone, goes along the cars to check the cards and calls out names, teachers escort kids to cars. Primary finishes at 3pm and by 3.15 all the kids being collected are gone - works a treat.


RustyBear · 01/06/2011 10:25

Our borough has a scheme where parents can pay £17.50 a year to park for a short time (I think it's about half an hour) morning and afternoon at pick up times in a nearby car park. The car park is only 200 yards from the infant school and about 700 from the junior school where I work, but hardly anybody uses it.

We've also had walking buses from outlying car parks, but the problem with that was that everyone wanted to use them but nobody wanted to be on the escort rota, so they folded every time.

So we still have a twice-daily scrum.

Actually, it was researching for solutions to the school car-parking problem that brought me to Mumsnet in the first place, five and a half years ago; some things never change....


NorthernGobshite · 01/06/2011 10:33

Some great ideas. I'm a school governor and live very close to school and people parking badly and especially on zigzags makes me so cross. I'm going to print this and take to next governors meeting so we can use some of the ideas!

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