FRUSTRATED parents are petitioning Cardiff Council to end the “traffic chaos” outside their children’s primary school after they say they were dismissed by councillors.
Some parents at Pwll Coch Primary School in Canton have started a petition that aims to “end traffic chaos” on Lawrenny Avenue where the school is situated.
Pwll Coch shares the street with Fitzalan High School and the congestion peaks at the end of the school day when parents come to collect their children, with some parking on zebra crossing lines and roundabouts.
According to the petition, the level of traffic got worse last year after Fitzalan High School moved the end of its school day to within ten minutes of Pwll Coch.
The petition states: “This created an extreme level of congestion and competition for limited parking space. The situation at peak times is chaotic and dangerous.”
Helen Raynor, 44, of King’s Road, Pontcanna, has two sons at Pwll Coch. She said: “Parents are pulling out and driving very fast down to the end of the road to be able to turn off so you are getting cars which are speeding because of the sheer pressure of congestion.”
Ceri Tegywn, 44, who has a child in year two at Pwll Coch, explained that parents are waiting in their cars within the white zig-zag lines at the zebra crossing between the two schools.
“You can see children trying to cross the zebra crossing. If they cannot see the car, the car cannot see them. There are zig-zags. You’re not supposed to park on those,” said Mrs Tegwyn.
The petition calls for the problem to be addressed urgently for the safety of pupils at both schools and urges Cardiff Council to carry out a consultation.
The police advised Miss Raynor and other parents from Pwll Coch to go to the Canton Ward PACT (Police and Communities Together) meeting to raise the issue, but they say they were told otherwise by Canton councillor Ramesh Patel.
“We were advised by the police to go to the PACT meeting. Initially Councillor Patel told us not to come,” said Miss Raynor.
According to the parents, Coun Patel then told them they could come if they wanted but they wouldn’t be able to vote on any PACT priorities because they weren’t Canton Ward residents (Miss Raynor lives in Riverside ward, although the school is in Canton ward).
“PACT meetings are done ward by ward for a reason. I told them to bring it up at their PACT meeting, ” said Coun Patel.
According to Miss Raynor, Coun Patel and Coun Elsmore (also of Canton Ward) later went to inspect Lawrenny Avenue, but refused her invitation to go further up the street to look at other problems.
Coun Patel said: “What’s the point in walking down there when we can see? A lot of the problems which we saw on the day were from Pwll Coch parents who were causing the congestion. There was a small element of Fitzalan parents doing it, but the bulk of it was Pwll Coch parents.”
Some parents from the primary school are concerned that there may be a conflict of interest as Coun Patel is a governor at Fitzalan High School. He is also Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning & Sustainability.
Mrs Tegwyn said: “He has not been unbiased, he did say that the problem was Pwll Coch parents. He has not prioritised the safety of the children.”
Coun Patel has denied that there is any conflict of interest and remarked that many of the pupils at the secondary school are of an age when they can walk home.
When The Cardiffian asked Coun Patel about possible solutions to the problem, he suggested an educational programme aimed at parents. He also suggested parents could use the Gôl Football Centre car park at the end of Lawrenny Avenue.
He added that the council would be using its ‘camera cars’ to catch parents driving dangerously on Lawrenny Avenue.
He said: “The camera will be able to pick up what’s going on. I have told officers I want the cam car down there. We want to make sure the children coming out of school are safe and if parents are putting children at risk we are going to book them.”