The morning school run has become something of a battleground around Fairfield Park Lower School, and particularly around Kipling Crescent, in recent months. Parents only have a five-minute window in which to deliver their children to the classroom door. The Community Hall car park is full by 8.45am; after that cars park anywhere else that they can, obstructing pavements and gateways and blocking traffic.
Part of the recent increase in cars will have been caused by the introduction of additional classes in the main school building to house children who will attend the new site from September. Most of these additional children do not live in Fairfield and cannot reasonably be expected to walk. The situation may also have been worsened by the traffic lights on the Hitchin Road, which mean that parents dropping off older children at middle school first rarely have time to drive home and drop off their cars before taking their younger children to school. Some people feel that the introduction of the crossing patrol on Dickens Boulevard has also pushed some traffic around Kipling Crescent in an attempt to jump the queue.
There have been complaints from residents and lively discussions at Fairfield Parish Council meetings, and the Parish Council has raised this issue with CBC, who are responsible for parking, traffic and road safety. Plans have even been drawn up for a new drop-off lane which could be installed in front of the school, parallel with Dickens Boulevard. This would provide an additional 12 or so drop-off bays. However, it would require planning permission and land owner permission and cost around £75k. And it is just possible that by the time all those approvals have happened the new school site will be open and the situation will have eased.
In the meantime, if you live in Fairfield and are able walk to school, it is guaranteed to be quicker, easier, and safer than driving.