As summer term 2021 draws to an end, we at Bromley Living Streets have been reflecting on the last school year. What improvements have we seen in Bromley since September that are enabling children to safely actively travel to school and where is there need for so much more to be done?
We have seen the implementation of 6 school streets across the borough although funding was obtained by Bromley Council for 11 – we are eagerly awaiting to see 5 more schools to be set up with school streets, will this happen in Autumn term 2021? Aware that more needs to be done in the borough to improve road safety for our children in September 2021, we launched our first Bromley Schools Travel Survey. Our survey was issued to all Schools in the London Borough of Bromley and we received 5,464 responses from 89 Schools.
What we asked
- What school does your child go to?
- How will your child travel to school in September 2020?
- Do you have any concerns about how your child will travel to school in September 2020?
The good news is that 42% of respondents are already actively travelling (walking, scooting and cycling) to and from school. Yet the survey results still demonstrate that more than half are relying upon cars or buses as their means of travel.
We asked parents and carers, ‘Do you have any concerns about how your child will travel to school in September 2020?’ For those who are travelling by car 54% did not provide any comments but those that did cited the following concerns providing insight as to why they choose to travel by car;
- traffic and road safety
- cycle lanes and cycle safety
- bus capacity and availability
What were the top concerns?
#1 Bus Capacity and Availability
A concern raised predominantly by parents/carers with children in secondary school education. Comments provided at the time showed that children were waiting up to 40 minutes for a bus both on the way to and from school due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
“…it seems there is not enough buses because the ones that are running just keep going straight past the bus stop because they are full or they are not allowing school children on.”
“…the buses have been refusing to take them I’ve been there and seen it. There are no extra buses on our route, the buses either stop and refuse to take them or the drive straight past.”
“We have been having problems with my daughter being able to get a bus home. Twice last week the buses drove past them. So I had to go and collect her….”
“buses will be packed….more cars will be on the road and the war memorial junction in Chislehurst is dangerous enough at present even before more cars and the kids coming home later during local traffic rush hour.”
#2 Traffic and Road Safety
‘Traffic and Road Safety’ concerns highlighted by parents and carers when responding to our survey indicated that this is the main deterrent to children choosing to either walk or cycle to school.
“We like the idea on travelling by bicycle to school but the lack of save cycling on parts of the A21 holds us back“
“Because of covid we are driving. He could cycle if there were cycle lanes“
“I wish there were proper bike route from Bromley centre to Ravenswood. Since there isn’t , my son will use the bus which is often overflowed and at times he gets to school late as the driver do not open the door.”
“I would like her to travel to school by bicycle (when she starts secondary), but the roads are too unsafe without me“
“Extremely busy roads near the school – many ‘almost’ accidents”
“Traffic is crazy on the school roads and pavement space is limited. I’m always so worried that a child will end up in the road one day!“
“…I will now take him as restrictions on buses & road to school unsuitable to ride a bike or walk“
“I wish it was safe for my children. To cycle to school. I hate adding to the pollution.“
“Tylney Road is a ticking time bomb for a child to get hit by a car. With the lining up against the fence to get through the gates, adults and children are constantly having to walk into the busy road on Tylney Road. ”
So what next?
You may be wondering – so what? We know traffic and road safety is a huge concern from Bromley residents but what are you doing with the information you have gathered?
- Results were shared with some of the 89 schools with the highest responses to help inform actions on their School Travel Plans.
- We have used the results to inform our areas of focus within the Borough, targeting areas where the highest number of concerns have been raised.
- We’re sharing the results with you! What are your concerns? Could you start a local community conversation about this if so Bromley Living Streets would be very happy to talk to you, your school or community group about what can be done locally – we have been doing this for the past 3 years. You can also ask your councillors what action they are taking and why they aren’t creating more school streets.
- Get in touch with us, about your school and we are happy to provide you with a “bite-size” summary of the results, as well as provide support on next steps you could take to promote change for enabling safer active travel to school.