Sheffield parents call for pavement parking ban and road closures to make school run safer

A group of parents have started a campaign in Nether Edge to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

By Emily Pollock
Friday, 19th November 2021, 10:11 am
Hunter's Bar roundabout.
Hunter's Bar roundabout.

The Hunter’s Bar Living Streets group was recently formed by parents within the Hunter’s Bar Schools catchment following multiple near misses with cars and their children on the walk to school.

They hope to see safer and easier walking routes that all people can use to reach the local schools and amenities around Nether Edge.

On these routes, they are campaigning for a ban on pavement parking, so pedestrians aren’t forced into the road, staggered crossings to be removed, and roads around schools to be closed at drop off and pick up times.

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Hunter's Bar Living Streets Group poster.

The group are also calling for side road zebra crossings, which were recently trialled successfully in Manchester.

Individual members of the group had previously engaged with the council for a pedestrian crossing on Psalter Lane, which was presented at a full council meeting, but they were unable to fund it.

Helen Boulton, 41, of Nether Edge, who is one of the founders of Hunter’s Bar Living Streets said:

“I find it worrying when I walk my children to school. It feels like running a gauntlet of obstacles. It’s a stressful experience and I can guarantee there’s going to be something that makes me feel anxious.

“If my children were to mishear me saying go, the consequences of that error could be serious if not fatal.

“We have done walking buses before where a group of parents and their children walk together during the school run. This makes us highly visible and makes us as parents feel safer. The vehicles can see better which minimises the danger.”

She added: “People are being knocked down at crossings due to drivers running red lights. Also, two-way traffic roads are not wide enough so pavements are being used. As a pedestrian this makes us feel very exposed.

“We need to prioritise pedestrians so drivers start avoiding the area. Twice a day hundreds of families make this commute and the streets need to be made safer for them.”

The group are campaigning for change to make things better for pedestrians and would like to work with the council, who they believe has a duty of care for every child on the walk to school.

They will be consulting with members to come up with an active travel hazard map that can then be used to inform planning and intervention strategies.

Green Party Councillor for Nether Edge and Sharrow, Maroof Raouf said: “Any campaign to bring about a greater safety aspect for pedestrians and cyclists is a good thing.

“Currently, there is far too much traffic in and around the Hunter's Bar area during peak hours, especially considering that many children are actively using these routes at such times.”

Cllr Raouf added: “I am a great advocate of bringing about the School Streets scheme to Hunter's Bar school. This would mean that the bottom of Sharrow Vale Road would be closed during peak hours in term-time.

“The benefits of this would be that children and parents would be encouraged to take a greater role in active travel as not only would it be safer, but it would also benefit them in that pollution from vehicular traffic would be significantly reduced, leading to a greater improvement of health and wellbeing, especially of children.

“I firmly believe that we should value the health of our future generations over the need to travel to destinations in the fastest time possible."

Cllr Raouf has said he would be more than willing to work with Sheffield schools that are interested in knowing more about the School Streets scheme and want to be part of the change.