Friday 11 March 2016

Potty 'Park and Stride' scheme exposed by Perrin in Byron Court car mayhem debate

Streets around Byron Court Primary School (click on image to enlatrge)

Cllr Keith Perrin claimed at the Planning Committee on Wednesday evening that the officer's report to the Planning Committee showed that currently the school experiences 'outrageous and dangerouus tarffic movements.' He said that the school had 'patently been unable to enforcde their Travel Plans' mainly because they have no enforcement tools.  He claimed that only last week someone was convicted of assaulting a resident.

Perrin went on to say that police and parking enforcement had been ineffective, even with camera cars.  The situation was exacerbated by lack of parking spaces and public transport and pressure on parking space from the increasing number of staff at nearby Northwick Park Hospital.

The result is that local roads are choked during the day and the Northwick Park Car Park had to apply restrictions to allow park users to park there.

Cllr Perrin said that the travel plans had failed and that the revised plan was deficient because it relied on 'Park and Stride'. (parents dropping children in Northwick Park Car Park and the pupils walking to school from there).  He had analysed the current pupil role by postcode (see LINK - I had the postcodes but deleted them to safeguard the identity of the children).  His analysis showed that of 697 pupils  only 319  are under 20 minutes adult walk to the the school,  100 come by tube, 11 travel for almost an hour on the 245 bus - in all at least 200 currently travel by cars that  'create absolute mayhem.'

That was the current situation but the report says that with expansion 299 extra pupils will travel by car.  Using Northwick Park Car Park for 'Stop and Stride'  would mean 162 cars needed to enter and exit via a single carriagewat - 324 car movements in 30 minutes, or a car movement every 5.5 seconds.

Perrin raised a number of issues regarding the proposal to use Northwick Park Car Park for 'Park and Stride':
  • the logistics of staff collecting and controlling 160 children and marching them to the school through 'rain or shine'
  • the chances of cars arriving within the same 10 minutes - one every 2 seconds
  • where wouldl children wait in the park
  • will there be sufficient staff to manage them
  • would there be any shelter or holding area?
  • a zebra crossing would be required at Norval Road - would this be a dangerous?
  • what were the chances of parent ignoring Park and Stride in the event of bad weather and attempting to drop their children off at school?
  • how would staff know which children to expect to be dropped off and what action woudl be expected if they don't turn up?
  • clear safeguarding issues
  • condition of the children if they have to wait in the rain for 10 minustes and walk 0.4 of a mile for 15 minutes in the rain to get to school
Cllr Perrin called for the Park and Stride idea to be abandoned and said he felt that the Highways Department did not really support the scheme despite their report: 'I know these officers to be some of the best and they are definitely not stupid.'

 To help inform readers here is an extract from the memo sent to the Brent Head of Planning from Transportation on November 23rd 2015:

Parking standard PS12 of the UDP-2004 will allow 1 car parking space to be provided per 5 staff, with visitor parking to be provided at 20% of the staff parking, but a minimum provision of a single car space. This standard also urges close attention to pick-up and set-down facilities at school sites, and the impact of on-street car parking on local residents.

The school currently employs 75 staff; 41 teachers, 29 support staff and 5 admin staff. This will increase to 105 staff members as a result of the proposal.

The school currently has 23 unmarked parking spaces, 22 cycle parking spaces and 15 scooter spaces and the proposal will provide 26 parking spaces including 2 disabled and 60 cycle spaces. This is sufficient to satisfy standards.

Cycle parking
62 cycle parking spaces will be provided and the cycle sheds appear to be located by both accesses; Spencer Road and Nathans Road. The cycle spaces should be in a secure and covered shed to protect against theft and weather in compliance with PS16 of the UDP-2004.

Site observations
The main issue observed was the number of vehicles parking in obstructive manners at the junctions on double yellow lines, blocking resident’s driveways and in some cases actually parking in the residents drive and overhanging the footway. This obstructive parking as well as parents wanting to park directly outside the school, or as close to the school as possible, was resulting in a tail back of traffic up to the junction of Norval Road. This in turn was leading to dangerous crossing behaviours by parents and pupils. Due to the nature of the road, it only took one or two vehicles to park in this manner or travel against the informal flow, for severe congestion to occur.

It appeared that on the days that teachers were outside the entrance encouraging traffic to move on and signs were placed out on the highway, vehicles were less disruptive as the teachers and signs were a deterrent to stop them parking so close to the school. However, this deterrent does not stop vehicles carrying out obstructive parking at the junction with Norval Road or vehicles trying to mount the footway and still did not stop vehicles blocking driveways, parking in the resident’s driveways and parking on the single yellow lines outside the school. On the days teachers were not always outside the entrance, parents appeared to revert back into bad habits of parking.

This illegal and inconsiderate parking by parents is a major concern for pupil and pedestrian safety and for access into and out of residential properties in the street. 

It was disappointing to see that Northwick Car Park was not used at all. Two parents were observed driving up to the entrance of the park looking for on street parking on The Fairway and then turning around when they did not find any.

Having discussed this with out School Road Safety Team, they have advised that they do encourage the school to make use of Northwick Car Park and name and shame parents who park dangerously. However, our observation on site shows that illegal parking and inconsiderate parking still occurs and in many instances it was the same vehicles parking in this manner. The traffic congestion is still an issue and the school should be more active to reduce this problem and address pupils safety concerns. 

Transport Assessment

Table 2.1 illustrates that 66% of the students live in same postcode region as the school (HA0), with 13% living nearby in HA9 and 12% living in HA1.

Point 2.26 refers to collision data retrieved from TfL. The data shows one slight collision at the junction of Abbots Drive/Spencer Road in 2011, involving a child pedestrian hit by a vehicle. Transportation’s accident statistics in the last three years showed show 2 slight accidents in 2014/2015, involving vehicle accidents on The Fairway at junctions with Norval Road and Abbots Drive and is unlikely to be related to pupils at the school as the children in the vehicles were aged 13 and 15 (Please see attached documents).  Please note that the accident statistics only report data whereby injury had occurred and near misses or slight accidents where no injuries were reported will not be included in the data. Therefore, statistics do show that no accident has occurred in the vicinity of the school.

Table 5.1 shows the mode split data of existing pupils taken in the summer 2014 and winter 2015. The results show 490 pupils walking in the summer and only 249 in the winter resulting in 50 pupils travelling by car in the summer and 96 travelling by car and 33 car sharing in the winter. Pupils’ travelling by bus doesn’t seem to change however, those using the train’s increases in the winter by 4.6%.

Northwick Car Park is in the vicinity of the site and the parking survey (carried out March 2015) shows that the car park provides 96 spaces with 79% occupancy. Due to the recent enforcement of commuter parking, within this car park, Transportation had requested for a more recent parking survey to be carried out. This was carried out in May 2015 and table 5.28 and 5.29 showed an average availability of 96%.

An all day parking survey (05:00 and 21:00) was carried out on Thursday 12th March 2015, by the consultants. Roads included Abbots Drive, Nathans Road, Norval Road, Spencer Road and The Fairway. The results showed an average of 57% occupancy in the morning peak between 07:30 -10:00 and an average occupancy of 70% in the afternoon peak between 15:00 – 17:30. The parking survey for Spencer Road showed an average occupancy of 64% in the morning and a high occupancy of 112%-127% in the afternoon during school pick up time.

The survey was carried out again in May 2015 after the enforcement of the car park and results in table 5.30 show that there were still spaces available on street and that the displacement of parking from the car park had not affected on street availability. Further to Transportation’s site observations on 23rd, 25th and 26th November, it was noted that there was no on street parking spaces available in the vicinity of the school on either Nathans Road or Norval Road due to the high number of commuters parking in the vicinity before 8.30am.

Please note the parking survey shows two figures for Spencer Road; 49 and 26 spaces. The 49 spaces are counted on both sides of the road as there are no legal restrictions for parking on one side only. However, the road is too narrow to allow parking on both sides and therefore the figure is incorrect and the realistic figure for a total of 26 spaces should be used for assessing parking availability. In addition to this, parking on Spencer Road should be discouraged due the width of the road and danger to pedestrians/pupils crossing the road near the school entrance and therefore parking availability on Spencer Road should not be considered.

Northwick Car Park
This car park is proposed to be used by parents for park and stride to school and table 5.23 shows a break down of occupancy in the between 08:00-09:00. The car park occupancy does gradually start increasing by 08:30 however, the average occupancy is 39% and therefore less then half the car parking is being occupied giving scope to use the car park for parents to park and stride.

A follow up survey was carried out 12th May 2015 and showed 115% occupancy on Spencer Road in the morning school peak and 146% occupancy in the afternoon school peak. However, Northwick Car Park shows only 4-5% occupancy both in morning and afternoon peak which is a significant change in results.

Since the enforcement of the car park, only approx. 5-10 parked cars have been counted during our site observation and the survey carried out by the consultants shows a low 4-5% occupancy. The car park is therefore ideal for parents to park within to ease congestion on the surrounding residential streets. However, the access into the car park is 200m long and does not have segregated footway, which is a concern for pedestrians walking on the carriageway whilst vehicles travel in and out of the car park. The grassed area either side of the carriageway can probably be walked along in the summer months however during the recent site observations, it was found that it was to muddy to walk on leaving pedestrians to walk on carriageway. This is Brent Council Parks land and Transportation would suggest that the school seriously consider the use of this car park for parents when dropping and picking up children and if this option is to be taken forward then discussions with Parks Department should be made to implement a segregated footway for pedestrians, especially the school children, to be able to use.

Automatic traffic counters on Spencer Road showed 100 vehicles travelling southbound between 08:00 -09:00 and at speed of 11mph and 63 vehicles travelling at 10mph between 15:00-16:00. Automatic traffic counters on Nathans Road showed 61 vehicles northbound and 34 vehicles southbound between 08:00-09:00 and 29 vehicles northbound and 23 southbound between 15:00-16:00. Traffic on Nathans Road travelled between 17-18mph.

Table 5.34, 5.35 and 5.26 shows a pupil and staff modal split for the existing and proposed as balanced however transportation would like to see an improvement to these figures via the Travel Plan targets and initiatives.

One of the initiatives the school proposes is to increase the ‘soft start’ from 10 minutes to 20 minutes between 08:30-08:50 to allow a staggered drop to reduce number of vehicles in the vicinity at any one time. Based on this and the assumption of extra school activities, table 5.49 proposes 20% of pupils to arrive 07:00-08:00, 25% between 08:00-08:30 and 54.7% between 08:30-09:00. The departure figures proposed 39.6% to leave between 15:00-15:30, 24.7% to leave between 15:30 -16:00 and 30% to leave between 16:00-17:00.

Table 5.58 anticipates an additional 83 - 299 during the morning and afternoon peak of summer/winter. These vehicles will be staggered between 7am – 9am and 3pm- 6pm and these vehicles can be accommodated within the Northwick Car Park, which can accommodate 50 or more spaces, alleviating on street parking concerns.

Travel Plan
After assessing the travel plan (dated October 2015) using the attrubte tool, it has failed for the following reasons:
·       The submitted travel plan will be effective from the proposed development 2016 and this is not acceptable. A revised travel plan should be submitted with initiatives already in place in order to address and reduce existing problems. 
·       A travel plan coordinator should already be appointed and working towards implementing measures
·       Targets should also be set out for 3-5 years after occupation
·       or adhere to a standardised approach.
·       The travel plan shows a target in Autumn (2016) when the proposed site is due to open and the vehicle target is 16%, which is as existing. By 2020 the target for vehicle travel is 12% (winter) when the proposed site should be in full occupancy. The staff targets show a reduction in vehicle travel by only 8% in 2020 with targets for walking to remain the same and the cycle travel increased by only 2% by 2020. These targets should be increased to encourage more sustainable modes of travel.

The travel plan does not mention use of Northwick Car Park, which was initially discussed as part of the pre-app and our School Road Safety Team have also discussed this option with the school as well. Transportation have suggested the car park to be used for parents to park and then walk to pick up or drop of their children particularly since enforcement of the car park has meant only 5-10 vehicles park in their with over 50 parking spaces available for parents to use. However it has been very disappointing to see that the school are currently not encouraging this option and that this is not mentioned as one of the travel plan measures.

The school currently uses a voluntary one way system in the morning from northbound on The Fairway and southbound on Spencer Road. The streets are too narrow to accommodate a two way flow and therefore the voluntary one way system in the morning attempts to alleviate traffic. The afternoon pick up attempts to keep to a one way system however, parents park to pick up their children so the one way system can provide difficult. However, this is simply a case of dealing with the symptoms of the travel problems and not addressing the underlying cause of too many car-borne pupils being brought to the school gates by car along a road that is unsuitable for the level of traffic generated.

In conclusion, the school has an existing parking and traffic congestion problem and they have failed to be proactive in addressing these existing problems by implementing sufficient measures in order to mitigate these issues before proposals of expansions were put forward. The travel plan should address measures to start mitigating these issues and should be enforced. Only then could any comfort be provided that the school would be able to expand without significantly worsening existing traffic problems in the area

Servicing Management Plan
During construction, the school proposes to continue using the access of Spencer Road for their deliveries and refuse, as is the current situation.

After construction, the school proposes to use the access on Nathans Road for their deliveries and refuse.

Drawing number SP21A proposes a 5.3m wide access leading to a 21m long and 20m wide hard standing area. The drawing shows the vehicle tracking for a refuse vehicle, which is 8.3m long. The drawing shows that a refuse vehicle can turn around within the site and leave in forward gear, which is acceptable. Refuse storage is proposed near the rear access for straightforward collection.

Swept path analysis has also been provided for ‘transit’ sized vans, which can also turn around and leave in forward gear. The van deliveries will be made for groceries/food deliveries and drawing number 941N200J does propose the kitchen near the rear access, allowing straightforward unloading into the kitchen. There is also an office by the rear access which will presumably allow deliveries such as post to be collected.

The hard standing area reserved for unloading/loading and turning area, will not be marked out with bays or ‘keep clear’ signage and therefore could potentially lead to off street parking by the school. This is not acceptable as it would lead to obstruction of large vehicles being able to turn around or park. Clear signage should be implemented or the school should strictly enforce no vehicle parking in the area other than deliveries.

The applicant also states that the area will be used for coaches and a swept path analysis should be submitted for this.

The school currently restricts deliveries between 08:00 – 09:00 and 15:00 – 16:00. As the access from Nathans Road will be used by pupils during the start and end of school and the expansion is likely to result in pupils using the after school activities as stated in the TA, Transportation would request the restriction to be placed from 15:00 – 17:00.

It appears that delivery vehicles will have to wait on Nathans Road whilst trying to access the school and this is not acceptable. The vehicle should set the gate back 10m to allow a refuse vehicle to wait within the access whilst they are pressing the intercom to gain access into the school.


Anonymous said...

Anyone in the vicinity of Byron Court Primary School on any day of the week would see the dreadful congestion that results from parents parking as near to the school as possible when dropping off and collecting their children. There is abusive behaviour towards residents which is frequently observed by the children. Residents have extensive photographic and video evidence of the traffic congestion obtained over numerous occasions and at different times of the year. This was submitted to Planning Officers. Brent Transportation Team have seen the congestion on estate roads and said that the School Travel Plan is NOT working in spite of Mrs Clark, the Headteacher's, protestations to the contrary. My understanding is that it is essential to have a working and successful School Travel Plan in place for a year. Byron Court School Travel Plan is lucky to work for a day and then only if a member of staff is present. It is not working now with 660 pupils so how on earth will it work with 1050? At the Planning Committee meeting Mrs Clark repeatedly said that the plan was effective and working. Clearly all evidence proves that it is not.
The Expansion Plans state that there will be 26 parking spaces for staff on the site. Considering there will be in excess of 120 staff in the school of 1050 pupils, how will 26 spaces suffice? Yet again, estate roads will bear the brunt.
A school survey was undertaken asking children how they travelled to school. If they walked they were given a badge. Ask any young child this question with them knowing that there would be a badge for the correct answer and it is inevitable what their response would be. Children stated they had walked to school even when they had been dropped off at the top of the school driveway. In their eyes they had walked down the drive so they had walked to school and that resulted in a badge.
It is staggering that with the weight of so much evidence as outlined by Councillor Perrin together with an independent report from a Traffic Consultant plus a survey carried out by residents over 2weeks, one week in termtime and one week out of termtime. Cars were counted entering and exiting the estate on all access points morning and afternoon school times. Data was analysed and again submitted to the Planning department as part of the objections. It appears that no matter how much evidence was gathered this ill conceived expansion was going to be approved. I fear for the safety of the children, parents and residents.

Anonymous said...

Having listened to Councillor Perrin's analysis of the practicality of Byron school's alternative parking proposals at Northwick Park, warning bells should have rung out loud and clear to all. How could Brent's Transportation Team and Planning Committee fail to appreciate the ludicrousness of this "solution". The school’s proposal fails to take account of the narrow time slots available for delivery and collection of children attending this school. After parking and registering at the car park, the children and their guardians have to walk the route to or from the school, in all weather conditions. The car park does not have sufficient car park spaces to accommodate the number of cars wishing to park during this short surge in demand and have even less capacity now that the expansion has been approved. The main pressure will be the morning run when parents or guardians will probably need to complete a journey, back through the areas congested roads, to a place of work or take a sibling to another school or nursery.
What a pity the Committee failed to respond with interest or questions on his superb analysis of the proposal. Was it lack of interest, a lack of understanding, or lack of willingness to even consider a valid reason to oppose this application?

Anonymous said...

During the 9th March Council decision meeting , under further questioning the applicant consultant conceded that the expansion would :
a) Create an actual surplus of 2FE in area 2 !

This was based on the revised Oct 2015 demand forecasts , against the inaccurate ones from the year before. Which were stated as the primary motivation for this level of expansion in the March 2015 cabinet minutes.

Hence this scale of expansion to 5FE is in fact not actually necessary.The expansion decision was never revisited.
Given the amount of public money to be spent it should be questioned why this is the case.

b) Require children to travel in from much further afield area. Planning areas 1 , 3 as well as remote locations in planning area 2.
Forcing a large number of future children to accept school places far from their home and suffer the daily pain and cost in having to travel large distances.
Also adding much extra congestion unnecessarily and frustrating other road users in these areas,

Will the council fail on its duty to provide a reasonable offer of a place to future children from these distant areas. For 5-8 year olds meaning within 2 miles of home?

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the four members of Planning Committee who voted to approve this application were showing a 'lack of willingness to even consider a valid reason to oppose' it. They would have been aware that the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Muhammed Butt, had pushed for the Byron Court expansion proposal to be rubber-stamped by his Cabinet, and would not have wanted to go against his wishes (something which is currently a big problem in undermining democracy at Brent Council).

What the comment above does not mention is the 200 metre long, single-track drive (with no pedestrian footpath beside it) from the top of The Fairway to the car park for the Northwick Park pavilion. All of the cars using this proposed "park and stride" scheme would have to go up the drive, drop off the child or children they are delivering, and then return down the drive to The Fairway. As the drive is single-track (even if a few passing places were to be added), anyone with any sense can imagine the road rage that this would cause between parents trying to drop off children and get to work etc!

As Cllr. Perrin made clear, this scheme IS unworkable.

Philip Grant.