‘Enough is enough’: Parents, children and teachers hold protest outside York school
“We’ve had several near misses and enough is enough” – the words of one parent who joined a protest today (Friday) calling for urgent safety measures outside a York school.
Parents, children and teachers at Acomb Primary School held the demonstration to demand urgent action to address serious road safety concerns that are “putting children’s lives at risk”.
Despite City of York Council designating Acomb Road as “a very high priority” for road safety improvements over two years ago, campaigners say it has failed to provide safe walking routes to the school.
A campaign spokesperson said: “Parents were left reeling after the recent decision to withdraw all funding for road safety improvements to Acomb Road, despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on much quieter roads elsewhere in the city.”
And while there is a 20mph zone along Hamilton Drive, the speed limit rises to 30mph around Acomb Primary School and West Bank Park.
Campaigners have created a Twitter account and created a video (above) to highlight the issue.
The Safer Acomb Road & Hamilton Drive campaign is supported by York Central MP Rachael Maskell, who joined the protest today.
She said: “Every child should have a right to get safely to school each day, and parents should not have to worry for the safety of their children in this way.
“The dangerous conditions on these roads are clear and undisputed, but so far the council has failed to deliver the basic emergency measures this school community are calling for.”
Tom Dennis, teacher and active travel lead at Acomb Primary School, said: “For many years, this area has seen dangerous driving, inconsiderate parking and speeds in excess of the indicated speed limit – these actions have a direct impact on the parents, carers, staff and children who do their best to commute safely to and from our school.
“Although many measures have been taken by concerned stakeholders, namely parents, the school and local residents, more needs to be done and the opportunity for our local MP to attend is a vital step in recognising this.”
Campaigners have gathered more than 800 signatures demanding safety measures are put in place.
There are two petitions:
- Make Acomb Road Safe for Our Kids Now – calling for a reduction in the speed limit around the school to 20mph
- Install Zebra Pedestrian Crossing – calling for a zebra pedestrian crossing near the junction of Hamilton Drive and New Lane.
Parents of Acomb Primary School children fear for their safety.
Louise Woodruff said: “It’s totally wrong that parents have to wait for a vehicle to decide to voluntary stop on a 30mph road to be able to get to the middle of the road with their little ones, crowd on to a small island and then repeat to try to get to the other side.
“This is a serious accident waiting to happen and is very dangerous. It also completely undoes how we teach children to safely cross a road. City of York Council must act now to provide a safe route for Acomb Primary School children to walk to school.”
Another parent, Joanna Sukiennik, said safer crossings on Hamilton Drive “are absolutely essential”.
“During school-run hours on Hamilton Drive I see or hear of a number of near misses that is absolutely shocking.
“This section of Hamilton Drive, near New Lane, is also a link to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Primary School, Heather’s Nursery, Holgate Preschool, Railway Institute and West Bank Park.
“Every day kids risk serious injury or worse here! Urgent action from the council is required as this is a serious accident waiting to happen. Does the council really want that?”
Ignored or downplayed
Holgate ward councillor Cllr Kallum Taylor said: “This morning was really positive – hats off to all of the parents and especially the children – but it’s a huge shame it was even needed.
“For years now as Holgate’s Labour Councillors, along with the school itself, we’ve been urging the Council to make Acomb Road safe, yet they’ve either ignored or downplayed the situation. So it’s no surprise to see people now demonstrating.
“In response to the Council’s lack of interest, we’ve even offered to put in a huge chunk of our own Ward funding to pay for a trial of a safe crossing point.
“They haven’t taken us up on this yet, while at the same time are still set to throw the best part of a million pounds on a cycle scheme for a much quieter road inside the ward of Green executive member for transport, Cllr Andy D’Agorne.
“He and his Lib-Dem Green administration needs to get their priorities sorted and stop waiting for accidents to happen.”
Dave Atkinson, head of highways and transport at City of York Council, said:“The council are aware of the requests from residents around road safety in the area and we are currently carrying out an assessment of potential measures that could be put in place.
“A report on these findings will be considered at the transport decision session on 21 March 2023.”