Today, Rachael Maskell MP for York Central met a large group of parents, children and teachers at Acomb Primary who are demanding urgent action from the Council to address serious road safety concerns that are “putting children’s lives at risk”.
Despite City of York Council designating Acomb Road as “a Very High Priority” for road safety improvements over two years ago, so far the Council have failed to provide safe walking routes to Acomb Primary School which is putting their children in danger every day.
Parents were left reeling after the recent decision to withdraw all funding for road safety improvements Acomb Road, despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on much quieter roads elsewhere in the city.
The crossing patrol post on Acomb Road has been vacant for nearly two years and the Council has failed to act to put other measures in place to support safe walking routes on this key route at the front of the school. Then at the rear of the school, failure to plan the 20mph zones along Hamilton Drive means that although much of the road is 20mph, the speed actually rises to 30mph around Acomb Primary School and West Bank Park. This means the road is extremely busy and dangerous to cross safely.
The group have launched a campaign pressing the Council reconsider their decision to remove all road safety funding for the area. Over 800 signatures have been collected so far demanding the Council urgently make roads around Acomb Primary School so that children can walk and scoot safely to school and to move around the community. They are calling for:
- New pedestrian crossings on Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive near the school
- Speed reduction measures (20mph zone) on Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive near the school.
Rachael Maskell MP said:
“Every child should have a right to get safely to school each day, and parents should not have to worry for the safety of their children in this way. The dangerous conditions on these roads are clear and undisputed, but so far the Council has failed to deliver the basic emergency measures this school community are calling for. The failure to do so is completely inexcusable, particularly when the Council is continuing to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds on other projects on much quieter roads elsewhere in the city. With scarce resources available, all money must be focused on places like this where it is most needed.
“It is shameful that a city, once renowned for its walking and cycling, has fallen so far behind. Last week, the new Government agency Active Travel England York opened its Headquarters in York. We have a unique opportunity to lead the way in active travel, one the Council have completely failed to grasp. Just last month the Council was humiliatingly downgraded by Active Travel England to the second to lowest grade for performance on delivering improved walking and cycling routes. In addition to this being a complete embarrassment, this downgrading also limits the funding the Council can secure to deliver the urgent improvements, like the ones called for by these parents, that children and other vulnerable road users in the city urgently need. This is completely unacceptable and urgent improvement is needed.”
Tom Dennis, Teacher and Active Travel Lead at Acomb Primary School, said:
“The visit by Rachael Maskell to Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive is an important step in what has been a long battle to see the safety of Acomb Road, Hamilton Drive and surrounding streets, improved. For many years, this area has seen dangerous driving, inconsiderate parking and speeds in excess of the indicated speed limit – these actions have a direct impact on the parents, carers, staff and children who do their best to commute safely to and from our school. Although many measures have been taken by concerned stakeholders, namely parents, the school and local residents, more needs to be done and the opportunity for our local MP to attend is a vital step in recognising this. Acomb Primary is passionate about improving the safety for all those linked to our school, and we fully support any meaningful change and improvement that can be made.”
Joanna Sukiennik, Acomb Primary parent, said:
“It’s totally wrong that parents have to wait for a vehicle to decide to voluntary stop on a 30mph road to be able to get to the middle of the road with their little ones, crowd on to a small island and then repeat to try to get to the other side. This is a serious accident waiting to happen and is very dangerous. It also completely undoes how we teach children to safely cross a road. City of York Council must act now to provide a safe route for Acomb Primary School children to walk to school.”
Louise Woodruff, Acomb Primary School Parent, said:
“Safer road crossings on Hamilton Drive are absolutely essential for the safety of children and parents to enable safe access to Acomb Primary and OLQM schools. During school-run hours on Hamilton Drive I see or hear of a number of near misses that is absolutely shocking. This section of Hamilton Drive, near New Lane, is also a link to OLQM Primary School, Heather’s Nursery, Holgate Preschool, Railway Institute and West Bank Park. Every day kids risk serious injury or worse here! Urgent action from the Council is required as this is a serious accident waiting to happen. Does the Council really want that?
“Every day I have to cross Acomb Road to get to school with my little ones. We’ve had several near misses and enough is enough – we need to see a pedestrian crossing and 20mph in place urgently. Will the Council only take action when a child is injured or worse? We keep waiting but nothing happens?”
More about the Campaign:
Unlike many other Primary schools across the City of York there is no school safety zone around Acomb Primary School. Acomb Primary School parents want their children to have the same level of road safety as children in other areas of the city. With no pedestrian crossings, a 30mph speed limit which is often exceeded and outdated small signs, Acomb Primary School children are in danger every day. Parents are having to crowd on a small traffic island with their children each morning relying on vehicles voluntarily stopping to be able to get across. Many vehicles ignore the presence of the children altogether – speeding past within inches of the Primary School children and their younger siblings. In February 2021, City of York Council designated Acomb Road as a Very High Priority for road safety improvement and granted it £4m of Active Travel Funding. In November 2022, City of York Council Executive voted to remove all the funding. They continued funding other schemes including £800,000 for Hospital Fields Road.