So, to keep that warm feeling all year, here's a guide on where to park for drop off and pick up at the school.
Parents received a 2 page sherbet-yellow letter in children's book bags titled 'Parking' and 'Parking Rules for Lee Common School' a few weeks ago. Well, if the zing has subsided, and you've had time to chew on the central message, here's a refreshing summary more 'bon bon' than bitter lemon.
1) Look at the RED area. Please don't drop off, pick-up, park or turn around in front of, in the lane next to, or near the school.
2) Look at the YELLOW area. Please do park here, but not across or in driveways, and don't reverse into the driveways for turning around.
Right. That's all that is special to the school, because the next two are common good sense.
3) Don't park on or near road corners, it cuts down visibility and makes it awkward for pushchair users.
4) Take a breath and park tidily, leave room for others. The day you are late, you'll be glad of the shorter walk.
If you do this, you won't be parking on the north side of the road, you won't be making the road difficult to navigate and won't be forcing through traffic onto the school side, slalom style.
Something to suck on...
On a personal note as a father of two at the school I'd suggest that the LCSA, School and parents implement a considerate parker policy.
This would manifest as windscreen stickers to put in the cars we use (you know, I'll do something nice to go next to Wimbledon and Polo, under the tax disc), which shows the driver is aware and agreeable to doing what needs to be done to keep the children safe.
Why am I suggesting this? Could be I'm better motivated by honour than restriction, I'd be happy to display my intent, and well, if I slip I'd be grateful for a reminder from a friend.
However, part is that on past experience lobbying _for_ residents parking I am opposed to a move towards formalisation of residents parking and council-restricted parking (and then disputes, fines, metering) on a narrow _public_ road. I'm also not agreeable to the over-marking of the road itself and the tendency to work towards acquisition of bayed parking.
Other road safety mechanisms
The most effective (and no doubt unpopular) road measures to implement would be, in order of preference:
1) Speed reduction. This means 2 sleeping policemen.
2) Re-sited _flashing_ school signs.
3) Across the road marking.
4) School zig-zags.
The most effective LCSA/school road safety measure to implement would be:
1) Alter the school gates to have a sliding section and advertise for a gate warden (or, in the theme of this piece, a lollipop lady) for 2x45 minutes per day and DO NOT release the children through the School Lane side gate.
1) Stop children running ahead and then standing/waiting in the middle of School Lane at/on the Oxford Street junction, where they are currently, not in plain sight.
2) Stop children entering Oxford Street's traffic flow at all, without overview by an adult.
And yes, I'd be happy for the LCSA to spend the money I donate on the signs, lollipop lady, the gate.
To me, parking is a sub issue of road safety. Bluntly, _that_ sucks, because it's true. Parking restriction is not a magic pill, and would be a lacklustre solution on its own. A considerate parking scheme, reduced speed, increased visibility and changes to exit practices might be the sweeter, more effective remedy.
Of course, that's assuming it actually really does matter that much...
impelled free to comment, respond with your own ideas and experiences and vote on the poll in the right hand column.