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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The road where everything stops for the school run: Chaotic scenes as parents clog up the streets collecting their children


Cars cover almost every inch of the street and there is little or no room for manoeuvre.

Have the drivers parked there for a football match or a pop concert? No, it’s just the daily school run.

It’s a familiar scene for many parents and their children across the country.

Bumper to bumper: The chaotic scene outside Wheeler's Lane School in Billesley, Birmingham - but parents are to face a harsh lesson if they park inconsiderately

But now officials in this Birmingham suburb plan to target those who park badly with a £70 fine to tackle the congestion, and the anti-social behaviour said to go with it, outside the school gates.

Mobile spotter cameras, increased police patrols and council enforcement officers will also be used to deal with any unruly behaviour, driving and parking.

The picture here was taken outside Wheeler’s Lane School in Billesley, but six other schools will also be targeted. However, many parents already struggling to balance work with picking up and dropping off their children are likely to criticise the scheme and ask why better parking facilities are not provided instead.

The fine, which would be reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days, is the brainchild of the police and Birmingham City Council’s Safer Routes to School Team.

And they're off: The quiet and leafy suburban street after the cars clear the area
Known as the Schools Parking Enforcement Zone project, the scheme will involve a police or civilian officer standing outside the seven busy schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

Children are also being encouraged to walk to school.

Liberal Democrat councillor Ernie Hendricks said: ‘It is a co-ordinated response to the bad parking, unruly driving and anti-social behaviour that is sometimes witnessed at the school gates.

‘I started the project due to residents’ concerns regarding the bad parking at a number of our schools.

‘The main complaints were where the roads are narrow and some parents will park in silly places putting children at risk. The aim is not to give out loads of tickets, but where people continue to park illegally they will receive a fine.

‘With the amount of literature and educational support the project is receiving from the Safer Routes to Schools Teams, I prefer to look upon it as “education with teeth”. Parents are given ample warning, and we’ve put signs up outside of the schools.

‘I am really pleased that the project so far is going well and all feedback received is very positive.’



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