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Residents Association MagazinearrowWinter 2002 - 22

CHANGING MINDS, NOT ROADS

A leafy suburb, good roads, shops, schools and facilities, excellent housing. Is this a fair reflection of Broadstone? Now let's look at it from a child's point of view.

Roads to cross, no cycle paths, speeding cars, traffic jams, parked cars. How does this match your impression?

Children in the Broadstone schools are more aware than ever before of the difficulties of getting to school safely. Comments made in surveys cover fumes, noise and danger, speed, lack of visibility at key junctions and not being able to walk. Some of these children are as young as 5.

Who has the problem? Is it the children or the residents? Who should find the solutions? The Council, the children, the residents? In fact, it's all of us, working together to write a plan with each school, not only in Broadstone, but also across the whole of Poole.

Safer, healthier and more sustainable journeys are the major aims of the Travel Plans being written by governors, children and parents. We can achieve this, not through redesigning all the roads, but by working with the community.

The children and a number of parents have worked out that there are problems linked to the journey to school. As a resident, you may be aware of these, but could you help to find solutions? What about giving a lift to a work colleague? How about making sure your buddleia isn't blocking the pavement? And your dog's contribution to the environment?

The main bugbear of children, however, is the car. Many of the problems around schools are a direct result of driving. Pollution and danger. Parking and speed.

There are alternatives. The obvious one is walking. Many parents have to drive their child to school. They live too far to walk, but what if we could find a place on their route to town where they could drop their children? A kind of bus stop, from where they could all walk to school? Under the supervision of trained adults. This is the walking bus. Where are the sites?

Cycling is easy, but let's look at why children and parents say it's not possible. Danger and speed. Lack of facilities at school. Let's look at the solutions. Schools can find funding for secure storage, but what about the dangers? Speeding cars are the major worry for parents. That & a lack of volunteers who can run cycling proficiency courses. We all can co-operate to make sure that Broadstone is a safe place for our children. The issues needing to be addressed are the amount and speed of traffic in the morning, inconsiderate parking, and a need for adults to listen to our children. We can't engineer our way out of trouble, but we can begin to change minds. Why not contact your school to see if you could help? Or you could send your suggestions to Transportation Services. We all know the problems, let's work on the solutions.

Nick Ellis, School Travel Plans Co-ordinator
Transportation Services, St John's House, Serpentine Road, Poole BH15 2DX

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