PARENTS must get on board if a new £60,000 crossing point is to make pupils’ journeys to school safer, a head teacher has urged.
After years of lobbying, changes have been made by Hampshire County Council to the pavement near Foxhills infant and junior schools in response to reports of children being knocked down during the hectic pick-up and drop-off times.
Junior school head teacher Andrew Shaw welcomed the measures but acknowledged it was not a full solution to the traffic issues caused by approximately 1,000 pupils and parents spilling out every morning and afternoon.
The 90-degree blind corner at the junction of Foxhills and Knellers Lane was deemed too risky for a manned crossing patrol, so a section of pavement has been built out closer to the schools’ entrance.
There is also a clearly marked route from the underpass under the A326 used by pupils from Totton, who account for two-thirds of the two schools. A road hump may be added later to slow vehicles.
Mr Shaw told the A&T: “We have had a number of accidents here with cars, such as opening doors onto cyclists and reversing into children.
“The success of it will be through people complying and respecting it. We still have parents who show no regard for safety and we need parents to get on board with this. I have literally just seen someone do a three-point turn on the crosshatching in front of the school.
“I have been asking for a safe crossing and Hampshire County Council have been really proactive to find a solution. This is the best they could do at the time.”
Cutting the ribbon was the village’s county councillor Keith Mans, who is also HCC’s Conservative cabinet member for children’s services.
He was joined at the launch on Monday morning by representatives of sustainable transport charity Sustrans who brought along their bird mascot and a bicycle-powered smoothie-maker for children to try, local councillors and PCSO Richard Williams.
Cllr Mans said: “It’s going to improve things. It’s always been an issue, especially when you have both parents working, to find safe ways to get children to school. This is a great improvement.”
He defended the time taken to install the works saying: “Virtually every school has issues because of cars. It’s a constant process and therefore it would be nice to do everything more quickly but as schools get bigger, there is always a demand.
“What we’re trying to do now is the best we can with the funds available. Safety is high up the priority list and we have a good safety record in Hampshire. We need to keep it up.”