Shelford school parking debate

I fully agree with the concerns raised by some of the readers. I firmly believe that removing the spaces is a terrible idea as it will both increase traffic through the village and, more importantly, will result in cars speeding up even more, making this area unsafe for children going to and from school.
At the moment, the parked cars may be seen as a problem - I agree that they're a pain - but they actually provide much needed protection to the kids.

Making it easier for cars on this route will only encourage more drivers to use this route. Why should we be accomodating the needs of non-village residents at the expense of putting our own kids' safety at risk?

On a similar note, I am routinely surprised at how quickly cars are going on Bridge Lane and how unsafe it is for people walking on this road. Some traffic control/speed limit reduction would also be useful here.
Richard Sainson
Little Shelford
I have lived on Church St on the corner of Kings Mill Lane for over 30 years.

There is a blind spot on Church St. Most traffic problems are caused by very large vehicles using Church St. Apparently there is a weight limit on the little bridges but I have never seen the sign and no one seems to take any notice. Delivery vehicles are becoming larger and larger and this is making the situation worse. This was very noticeable after Tesco managed to take over a drapers shop which had deliveries once a week and replace it with a supermarket which required several daily deliveries. This move was perfectly legal and I suggest people join the parliamentary debate which has been suggested about just this situation.

The other problems are caused by drivers deliberately driving into traffic endeavouring to advance their position by passing parked cars to drive into the next space. This is compounded by vehicles deliberately following the cars driving headlong into these cars. This causes a stalemate. Some drivers refuse to give way or help the situation by reversing even when it is possible. They used to drive onto the kerb and wooden bollards were erected. Now the drivers either sit there till someone gives way or a shouting match ensues.

This small Street has just endured the demolition and rebuilding of a perfectly good house just inside Kings Mill Lane which necessitated huge vehicles reversing into the farm track opposite to get down the lane. Fences were broken and verges destroyed. At the same time the barns opposite were undergoing massive building conversion and two affordable houses built. The vehicles coming to and fro for about twenty months have caused many of the traffic problems. I am told that there will be bollards as in Old School Court which will prevent any space usage by large vehicles trying to negotiate the space. The large grass area was always used by weddings and funerals at the church and by the school for special events. This has now been disallowed by Jesus College who still own the main grass area.

I agree with the parents who say the traffic will go faster if it can see its way clear . There is only light traffic during weekends and holidays and the traffic goes at speed. That is why a pedestrian crossing was put in. The elderly people at Peacocks used to take their life in their hands crossing the road. When lights were in use recently large vehicles were going up on the pavement on the school side to get passed. If no parking was allowed the Council would have to put barriers up outside the school and church to protect pedestrians which would be costly and ugly in a conservation area. I have seen cars come so fast they did not make it round the bend and hitting the walls, bouncing through the garden fences of the bottom of Kings Mill house gardens demolishing sheds.

The problem needs an enforced weight limit some courtesy, give and take and patience. After all this is a village.

As for a one way system round the village. I think it would be better to make the Church St end of Woollards Lane up as far as the Village Hall a pedestrian area unless for access

Jenny Morris

 A possible solution is to allow cars to have sole use of the road and an alternative route for all other users to be built as much in parallel as possible. However, I can see this may well not be realistic or popular. I am really concerned about safety on the route to school and outside school. My arm has been clipped on more than one occasion on the way to school and I witness speeding by cars, vans and trucks on almost a daily basis. I fear for my children's safety especially crossing the bridges and on the narrow pavement on the bend just as you approach school. I feel that if spaces were removed outside of school, traffic would just move more quickly and be more dangerous. An improvement in signage and lowering in speed limit at school drop off and pick up times would be my preference . Charlie Russell - Mum to Emma Yr 1 and Matthew in Rainbows , Little Shelford

Whilst I agree that double yellow lines outside the school would improve traffic flow, I think it would only increase traffic speed and make the route - particularly from Little Shelford - feel even more dangerous at times. If yellow lines were to be introduced then they should only be done so in tandem with a reduced speed zone (20mph) at school drop-off and pick-up times, as they do in Fowlmere for example. This alerts non-school motorists to the fact that children are on the pavement and on the road (cycling) at key times of day. Generally, more signs are needed to tell non-resident motorists that they're coming up to a school area - there is one sign on the Little Shelford side of the school and that's very old and practically invisible to cars. There should definitely be a sign before the bridges as that's where people tend to speed up.

Managing traffic through lights always seems to work when there are roadworks being done and it makes traffic slow around dangerous bends such as that coming off the bridges and around to the school where the pavement is too narrow with no 'escape route' from cars on the road side. Traffic lights would also reduce the problem of cars accelerating around parked cars, which can be frightening for children and parents alike - especially when you're on a bicycle.

Finally, I do wonder where Great Shelford Parish Council think people are going to park if they remove the spaces outside school? People of all kinds (parents, residents, church goers) need to park in that area at different times of the day. If the spaces are removed then the problem will just be pushed to elsewhere.
Kind regards,
Tamsin Mann

I understand there is a proposal to reduce the number of parking spaces outside Shelford school in order to reduce traffic congestion. My interest in the matter is as a parent of a 6-year-old who walks or
cycles to school from Little Shelford most days.

I am writing to voice concern over this plan. The congestion outside school may not be desirable for motorists in a hurry, but it has the effect of slowing traffic in an area where there are children - as young as 4 years old at school and 2 years old for the preschool, which is on the same premises.

Congestion outside the school may have the additional effect of reducing traffic volume. The pavement from Little Shelford to Shelford school is very narrow at the most dangerous points - the bridges and
the bends - and with traffic moving at high speed along this road I fear for my child's safety as we walk (it would be safer to drive my child to school!). I would like to see a solution to the congestion
that makes walking to school safer while easing and calming traffic flow. The best example of this I have seen is when temporary traffic lights were set up during road works on this stretch, but I'm sure an
expert on road planning could come up with others.

I strongly feel that no action should be taken unless there is absolute certainty that it will make the traffic outside the school safer, and that piecemeal reorganisation of the traffic flow is ill-advised. I would suggest that no change is made until there is a long term plan to manage traffic volumes and speeds alongside this picturesque but dangerous stretch of pavement, which is often populated by small children.

Alan Slater, Little Shelford

I drive through, cycle up and walk my kids to school on a regular basis at the crunch time and so experience it from all angles.

I firmly believe that if you take out too many parking slots then the traffic will move too fast through there creating a very worrying danger to the kids, particularly around the walled bend and over the bridges where it is particularly tricky with kids scootering and cycling.

The major problem is the blind bend up GS end where there are too many parked cars and not enough lines for cars to weave in and out. The trouble is you can’t see around that bend so drivers take a leap of faith or follow on the behind a run of other drivers and have nowhere to go if something comes around the bend from GS. I really think that just taking out 2-3 parking slots on that bend would be all it would take. There would still be congestion (it’s a busy time) but cars and lorries can then weave in and out a little bit easier thus preventing the real block up that generally occur when a larger vehicle comes through.

Ali Burd

I am writing to you regarding the proposed removal of parking spaces outside Gt Shelford School.

My husband and I walk or cycle from Courtyards in L Shelford to Gt shelford school four to six times every day. We have three children, aged 5, 3 and 1.

After an incident on the bridge where a van wing mirror narrowly missed hitting our three year old in the head. We made a very expensive decision to buy a cargo trike, which fits all three children for the school runs.
We felt it was only a matter of time before someone was seriously hurt.
Also there are occasions- esp. with three children- one a baby, where it is very important to be able to park close to the school.

For the above reasons, my family and I would like to keep the parking spaces outside the school- for the people who need them. I agree this helps prevent cars going too fast. I would also like to see something done about the paths over the bridges where they are too narrow and cars cannot pass one another, or pedestrians on the footpath safely.
It seems such a shame, for health, community, and environmental reasons, that we are near enough to school to be able to walk but don't feel safe to do so.

Perhaps a traffic light system would be best.

In an ideal world we would love a direct off road route through little Shelford recreation ground and over the fields to the school- but we assume this is private land and therefore not a possibility?

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Susannah and Andrew Corney

The 10 spaces outside of the school will encourage some vehicles (including lorries) to pass the school at speed - which is a highly dangerous situation, especially when walking/cycling with children to and from school.

Easing congestion at the school would simply make the route even more popular for commuters using Little and Great Shelford as a short cut to the east side of cambridge! The parking outside of the school is a simple but effective traffic calming method - slowing down the frequent commuters. However, the parked cars are simply not enough and not a permanent solution. There should be further traffic calming initiatives introduced to make Little and Great Shelford safer and reduce the through traffic in Shelford in general.

Robyn and Jon Cook

I am writing to expressing concern at the idea of removing parking spaces outside school.

It is difficult enough as it is!!!!
Quite exasperating trying to get from home in Little Shelford to work via droping child at school. I do not gave the luxury of time to walk back home and then start the journey.

There is a very high turnover of spaces over a 20 minute period of time. Each space is used around 4 times during drop off.

There is also a short term increase in traffic through Little Shelford due to the roadworks in Trumpington with people taking wide diversions to avoid the congestion (due until July). If you make the cut through Little Shelford quicker we will just have an increased volume of traffic through the village permanently which I do not welcome.

Combined with the proposal to remove spaces near the church in Little Shelford I suspect the problems will merely move into Great Shelford. Expext more congestion in the morning around the co-op/butchers and village hall with knock on impact to those businesses.

Uninforced speed restrictions outside schools do not work, but our children are well protected by the physical barrier to high speeds that the cars parked to drop off and collect provide.

I have recently seen reception children step into the road, luckily slow obstucted traffic meant that they came to no harm.

So for these reasons I oppose the reduction in parking space removal outside of the school.

I don't want more, faster traffic through the villages.

PJ Cartwright

My experience having spent the last 9 years of taking children to Shelford school is:
1.Cars whizz along the High Street making crossing the road dangerous.
2. Always feel concerned when cycling or walking over bridges towards the school as pavement is very narrow and cars squeeze passed cyclists.
3. Dangerous turning into Church Street on bike as it's difficult to see what's coming round the bend.
4. Outside the school is always very congested at drop off and pick up times. Possibly yellow lines may ease congestion but cause faster driving, which would be very dangerous on route to school and outside the school. Maybe speed restricting measures would be an option?

Rachael Riches
10 Garden Fields

I am definitely in support of bringing the speed down of the traffic travelling along the route to school. In my opinion its an accident waiting to happen. The idea of taking the car parking spaces away from near the school seems to me to be badly thought out. On the one hand it may ease traffic congestion however by doing this it may lead to an increase in the amount of traffic that passes through along that route, certainly at peak times.

I've heard of and been part of many conversations about the traffic congestion on Church Street and one thing that it does do is make those who are aware of it avoid that stretch at peak times ie school drop off and pick up times. I'm certain that there are many drivers who have used this route as a rat run to Cambridge who will have changed their route or timings due to getting caught up in the traffic in Shelford and do we really want to encourage them back again?

Also by increasing the speed and flow of the traffic passing through it will therefore be more dangerous to pedestrians on the narrow pavements pavement and also those who dare to take their kids to school by bike. Last week I was biking to school with Olivia and Ava and was over taken by a small car just near the speed bumps in Little Shelford near the church. There was a small child on a bike with Mum and baby behind on a bike coming the other way. Needless to say it was a very close call and I must point out that those speed bumps were useless as the car didn't have to break speed at all while squeezing through!!

I'm in favour of traffic lights, signage, "school safety zone" and traffic calming measures - and am not being over the top! I understand the wish to keep it a village and not turn it into an urban zone. I know traffic lights are not discreet but then neither is a pedestrian crossing and we have one of those - not that traffic stops at it 50% of the time! Traffic lights with a crossing sounds like a good alternative! To me safety is more important than the look of traffic lights and all the other measures previously mentioned and there are many villages in our area which have them.
Best Wishes,
Sarah Henry

John and I are very concerned about the proposal by the Great Shelford Parish Council to remove up to 10 parking places outside of St Mary's Church in order to ease congestion. I fear this will simply encourage more traffic and faster speeds. At least now the parked cars provide some sort of safety for pedestrians en route to school.

I walk to school most mornings with Naomi (7) and Ella (5) from Little Shelford and have noticed that the majority of cars traveling from the direction of Little Shelford have nothing at all to do with school, ie this is commuter traffic. I have also noticed that there are a number of large vehicles also using this route eg Shelford energy tankers. 2 days ago I was staggered by the appalling driving of one such tanker as he careered down the road past the church towards the pedestrian crossing. Luckily this was mid morning and there were very few pedestrians or young children about as I feel sure that should this vehicle have needed to stop suddenly, he wouldn't have been able to do so.

Some sort of traffic calming needs to be implemented and the pavements need to be made a safer place. Children coming in and out of school should at least be guaranteed safe passage. There is no easily visible signage warning of the presence of schoolchildren on either approach.

Best wishes.

Catherine and John Sutherland

I am pleased to read that at last more yellow lines are being put down in Church Street, I am sure this will go some way to improving the traffic flow & safety along this road, & remove the frustration & 'road rage' of motorists. Maybe school run mums will now get the message & walk their youngsters to school.
John Wakefield
I think traffic lights need lots of debate- may make route safer but also much slower?
Tiggr Dearden