Agenda item

Petition Asking For Measures To Address Parking And Traffic Concerns In Whiteheath Avenue, Ruislip


Councillors Phillip Corthorne and Devi Radia attended the meeting and spoke as Ward Councillors in support of the petition. 


Concerns and suggestions raised at the meeting included the following:

·         Petitioners had raised a number of concerns regarding the safety of pupils and parents at Whiteheath Junior School which had increased in size over the years;

·         Traffic congestion had worsened outside the school and in the surrounding roads as it became more ‘normal’ for parents to drive their children to school in increasingly large vehicles;

·         It was noted that there were a number of teachers that refused to park in the school’s own car park and instead parked in the adjoining residential roads.  This added to the congestion on the surrounding roads and made it more difficult for parents to drop their children off;

·         The school had 22 parking spaces and 40 members of staff, most of whom were part time.  As such, parking availability was such that the level of overspill into the surrounding roads need not be at the level currently experienced.  This issue had been raised with the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors who were contractually unable to dictate where staff parked;

·         Children would often have to cross the road to get to school;

·         Although it had been addressed to some extent, there were still a large number of parents turning their vehicles in the road after they had dropped their children off.  This also added to the congestion around the school and had resulted in a number of near-misses where vehicles had mounted the pavement and almost hit children;

·         Petitioners were aware that the majority of schools within the Borough were in 20mph zones but that the speed limit outside of Whiteheath Junior School was 30mph.  The speed of some vehicles travelling in the area had been frightening;

·         As there were no traffic calming measures in the area, petitioners requested that action be taken to slow the traffic down.  Suggestions had included reducing the speed limit to 20mph, the installation of speed tables, stopping vehicles from turning in the road, the introduction of a one way system for school traffic and school staff using the school car park;

·         It was suggested that double yellow lines be installed outside the school by the barriers to ensure that the school entrance was kept clear for emergency vehicle access, should the need arise;

·         A number of parents would turn up about an hour before the end of school and sit it their vehicles with their engines running;

·         A 2.30pm to 4.30pm parking restriction was in place outside of the school.  Residents were unable to see the other side of the road for cars at 4.30pm when parents came to pick their children up from after school clubs;

·         Residents had considered requesting parking permits but were keen to ensure that parents were still able to stop for 5-10 minutes so that they could pick their children up from school; and

·         One of the Ward Councillors had met with officials at Whiteheath Junior School who had confirmed that they would do anything in their power to help the situation.  Whilst it was acknowledged that the school was unable to contractually enforce staff parking in the school car park, there was the possibility that residents could ask for parking permits which would force the issue.  The school had advised that it was introducing a Parent Parking Pledge which, it was hoped, would improve the situation.


Councillor Burrows listened to the concerns of the petitioners and responded to the points raised.  He noted that issues were faced by most residents in the Borough living in the vicinity of a school and that it was important to balance school life with the needs of the local community so that an amicable solution was reached. 


Although there had been recent construction works undertaken at Whiteheath Junior School, pupil numbers had remained largely unchanged over the last twenty years.  However, this might change in the future. 


Whilst a voluntary one way system for school traffic could be introduced, there would still be parents who would not comply and could not be forced to as, by its very nature, it would be voluntary.  Consideration could be given to a permanent one way system around the school but this would be incumbent on all road users, including the local residents. 


Councillor Burrows advised that he would ask officers to commission an independent traffic survey during term time to identify the volume, type, time and speed of vehicles using the road.  The locations for the 24/7 survey were agreed with the petition organiser and those Ward Councillors present.  The data collected by the survey would build a more comprehensive picture of the situation and, where appropriate, could be passed to the Police.


It was noted by officers that the relationship and level of communication between the Council and the school had improved significantly since the submission of this petition.  This provided benefits to the school, pupils and parents, the Council and the local residents.


Those present were advised that the Council was in the process taking action in relation to idling engines which might alleviate air quality issues.


The Cabinet Member advised that Council officers would be meeting with the school at the end of the week to review the information that had been gathered at this Petition Hearing.  Ward Councillors would be kept updated on the results of the survey and the outcome of the meeting with the school.


RESOLVED:  Meeting with the petitioners, the Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and Recycling:


1.            listened to their concerns over parking and traffic in Whiteheath Avenue, Ruislip;


2.            asked officers to investigate possible options to mitigate the concerns raised by petitioners and then to report back to the Cabinet Member;


3.            instructed officers to commission independent 24/7 traffic speed and volume surveys at locations agreed with the petitioners and Ward Members; and


4.            instructed officers from the Council's Road Safety and School Travel Team to follow up on initial dialogue with Whiteheath Junior School to explore measures they could put in place with the school to alleviate local residents' concerns.


Reasons for recommendations


To allow the Cabinet Member to discuss with petitioners their concerns and, if appropriate, add their request to the parking scheme and road safety programme.


Alternative options considered / risk management


These were discussed with petitioners.

Supporting documents: