Car parking is an issue outside many schools across Milton Keynes and Labour Councillors are happy to work with their local community to find answers to this sort of daily problem.
The community on Conniburrow have been showing the way for children to get safely to school without a vehicle. Labour Councillor Pauline Wallis is part of a team who’ve established a daily “Walking Bus”.
Since last October eleven children walk to school in convoy in high viz jackets holding on to special equipment provided by the Co-op and with adults Emma Anderson at the front and Councillor Pauline Wallis at the back of the walking bus. Claire Bennett manages the traffic but most drivers immediately let the “bus” cross in front of them.
Councillor Wallis said “I have really seen the advantages. There is no stress for parents trying to find somewhere to park in order to drop children off in cars. There are fewer cars at the school gate and we all enjoy the walk. We have three “bus stops” along the way where children join us. We have been singing songs as we walk along which the children enjoy and so do I. Everyone is dropped off in their classroom, just as they would be if a parent took them to school. When we started the council officers helped us by checking the route and giving us advice to keep everyone safe. I think this is an excellent scheme.“
Councillor Zoe Nolan, MK Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Families said “We are struggling with traffic outside the school gate in my own ward of Loughton and Shenley too. We have been looking at other ways to reduce traffic by encouraging children to walk or cycle to school. The Conniburrow walking bus is a really interesting scheme. Not only does it help parents, who do not need to drive their children to school, but It helps get everyone safely to school on time and the exercise is really good for children and helps their learning. It is a lovely social start to the day. I would like to see this scheme expanded. I think Conniburrow is leading the way in offering part of the solution to schools who are struggling with parking congestion. Every school could benefit from a walking bus.“