RESIDENTS have told how cars are banned from outside their homes because school-run parents abuse them so much.
Parents from Guardian Angels Primary School in Bury, Greater Manchester have been banned from driving along Melrose Avenue to stop local residents and drivers jostling for parking spaces.
A “school street” has been created so that the road outside the entrance remains clear of traffic during pick-up and drop-off.
Residents on the road demanded action due to the endless “chaos” caused by vehicles “competing” to park as close as possible to the gates during the morning and afternoon pick-up and drop-off peak times.
The problem became so serious that the police often had to be called to control traffic after heated clashes between residents and drivers.
But some residents and parents questioned the usefulness of the scheme, saying it was “just for show” and wouldn’t make much of a difference.
On Tuesday during homecoming, people could be seen circumventing the ban by parking dangerously on street corners – as close to the school as possible – so they have the least walking distance.
Residents described how in the past congestion and parking problems sometimes led to angry confrontations with “careless” drivers.
One, who did not want to be named, said parking was so bad she had to convert her front garden into a driveway to make room for her car.
But then people would drive their cars into her driveway and refuse to move.
She told The Sun: “A few have become really abusive. A woman cursed at me after she blocked the driveway and got so angry that she ran into a three-point turn and nearly hit a child.
“She kept saying, ‘The world is free, I can park wherever I want.’
The woman said “time will tell” if “school street” is the solution, as not all parents support it.
George Bennett, 74, who has lived on the street for 20 years, said: “Before it was just chaos, absolutely ridiculous.
“Cars were racing to get as close to the gates as possible. It was always the same people who didn’t want to park further away.
“They would also leave their cars on so the fumes would build up.
“Our driveway was often blocked so sometimes it was impossible to drive anywhere.”
He added: “The difference now is incredible.
“But we’ll see if it holds up, the problem is some people just don’t like parking their cars further away and having to walk.”
Teaching assistant Leanne Hodgson, 39, who had erected a barrier on Tuesday afternoon to keep the road clear of traffic, said the scheme was a “great idea”.
She said: “It used to be really dangerous for the children, especially because it’s a cul-de-sac and cars had to reverse to get out
“At times the police were called to control the flow of traffic.”
“I think School Street will encourage more people to walk to school and bring health benefits to children, albeit lower emissions from traffic.”
Vehicles are prohibited between 8:00-8:45 and 14:15-15:30, although the road is open to pedestrians, cyclists and exempt vehicles such as blue badge holders.
Park and walk areas have also been created at a distance from the school for those who live within walking distance.
Mum-of-three Charlotte Pitchforth, who has two children at the school, Kyrie, 7, and Ezra, 4, described the scheme as “brilliant”.
“The parking issues have led to a lot of anger. Everything was a bit crazy and chaotic before.
But others were less supportive of the scheme.
One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “They have chosen the wrong street.
“Leigh Lane, which runs past the school, is much more dangerous and gets even more traffic.
“The whole issue was the safety of the children, but people are double parking and causing other hazards.”
“I don’t think it has anything to do with air quality either.” I asked the school and the council if they did tests and I didn’t get an answer.’
Headteacher Damien Arthur said all parties had been consulted about the scheme after “delays with children” and “accidental bumps and scrapes” to residents’ cars due to tight turning points.
“The freedom of the area outside the school vehicle is not only safer, it means the air is cleaner and also supports our drive to get more children walking to school,” he said.
The initiative is a partnership between the school, Bury Council, Living Streets and Transport for Greater Manchester in the hope of getting more children walking or cycling to class.
It is also supported by Greater Manchester’s active travel commissioner, 14-time Paralympic gold medalist Dame Sarah Storey.
Councilor Alan Quinn, Bury Council’s cabinet member for environment, climate change and operations, said: “School streets reduce traffic and congestion outside schools, which will help keep our children safe.
“Air quality will also improve thanks to a reduction in engine idling during peak pick-up and drop-off times.”