The school run accounts for a large proportion of rush-hour traffic

school run
At ten past eight this morning, some snow was falling. I overheard some school pupils saying there would need to be more snow to settle. A biffa lorry collecting trade waste outside the Helen and Douglas charity shop did not hold up the slow flow of traffic. A man was positioned to throw the dozen bags in the back while the traffic waited in West St Helen Street.

Traffic is back to its normal school day pattern. Last week during half term there were much smaller queues. I read on a site called Walking to School, ‘The average drive to school and back releases 800g of CO2 into the air – enough to inflate over 60 balloons.’

41 thoughts on “The school run accounts for a large proportion of rush-hour traffic

  1. PPJS

    While I agree that perhaps smaller children don’t walk to school as much as in previous times, there are two things worth noting.

    Secondary school kids do walk.

    Small children have working parents who want to see their youngsters arrive at school safely and on time. For many, this means that they have to drive them to school before getting on to work.

    I am interested to see how my Canadian grandsons and their friends get to school. The yellow school bus is a primary option for many – especially when temperatures drop below -10 degrees Centigrade!

    Here, some secondary schools have bus services, but it doesn’t seem to be a primary school option.

  2. Hester

    An idea I have often heard mooted, but I don’t know if it happens in reality is a ‘walking bus” – where parents get together to organise for a few of them to walk a larger group to school. In these days of WhatsApp groups etc that ought to be a lot easier to organise than it would have been in the past.

  3. rudi

    as always, if you’re stuck in traffic, YOU are the traffic, you’re part of the problem with the best will in the world.

  4. PPJS

    Yes, but then what? Easy to point the finger, less easy to find a solution.

    We could equally say that if we have brought children into the world we are part of the over-population problem. But then what?

  5. Phil

    In Holland over half of all children cycle to school. Many walk. Few depend on their parents for lifts. The reason is because In Holland streets are designed for people.

    We design our towns around cars. As a consequence few parents feel safe letting their kids cycle, and as many schools are not in walking distance. Pollution and congested streets are inevitable when plan around cars, rather than people.

  6. Dot

    Mine have always walked to school – an almost 2 mile round trip. When the eldest started secondary school she walked (double the distance of attending primary school). Now she cycles.

    There is no way I would want to sit in traffic for 20 minutes or more to travel just under a mile. Not a chance.

    My son’s primary school discourages children walking alone until they are in year 6. For working parents this creates a problem in that they may not have time to walk home to collect the car before joining the queues. Couple this with children attending school outside of catchment – often due to their catchment school being over subscribed – and you start creating a traffic problem.

  7. Daniel

    “MINI” pumps out 1000 cars a day.
    Every day.
    Every week.
    Month after month after month.
    And that is just MINI.

    Perhaps that is part of the problem?

  8. moan again

    just passed abingdon school by albert park and there they were, all the range rovers,suvs, 4 drives etc sat there with their engines still idling,being very climate change aware,says it all really

  9. Iain

    I dont think so Daniel, although 2 panelists were from OxLEP and OCC , so debate will get back to those bodies who influence this area.

    The debate was around how you could spend $3m to improve Mobility in Oxfordshire. The panelists put forward 3 ideas and kicked them around exploring some of the challenges. They were:
    – investing in network management systems to free up road capacity to enable things like space for cycle lanes and prioritising bus journeys
    – building public awareness and trust in autonomous vehicles, to enable better safety and road utilisation
    – using vehicles differently in terms of smaller lighter vehicles and shared use of vehicles.

    There was a cycle powered van on display designed to do the last mile of deliveries to avoid congestion. A shared use pilot scheme for this is about to start in the covered market replacing a number of diesel vans.

    The audience voted that all three ideas sounded good, and the chair of the panel said the good news that all three were currently being actively perused in Oxfordshire.

    Hope this helps Daniel

  10. Geoff Bailey

    Moan again is right about the vehicle situation at Abingdon School. Not only is the bottom car park often full of vehicles but they now have them parked on Upper Field. The number of pupils being picked up by car parked in Park Crescent is out of control. It never was like that back in my day. We biked to school or there was a school bus. Just shows how affluent people are these days.

  11. Iain

    I’m not disputing the general situation- I fully agree that at pick up and drop off times, and when they have big matches there is a real traffic problem.

    What I disagree with was that this was the case at last night’s event at the Amey Theatre.

  12. moan again

    re point 19, no mention of traffic wardens to stop people parking on double yellows all the time, look round bath st, west st helen st, lombard st etc any time of th day or night

  13. ChrisS

    Most roads in Abingdon have 2 pavements. One could be for pedestrians and the other for cyclists. . Some adaptations would be necessary but the overall cost and time scale for implementation would be considerably less than for the creation of new cycle lanes from scratch.

  14. PPJS

    Is there heavy traffic every day at Abingdon School? Or are Mondays and Fridays particularly busy days?

    It could be parents ferrying weekly boarders.

    I am not defending the situation – I’m just asking a question and wondering whether there’s a possible explanation.

  15. Houdini

    When I was a child in primary school, we walked 1/2 mile to school in all weathers, AND we walked home for lunch and back, then back home again after school. I also walked my children to school and some parent who lived round the corner to school used to drive!

    Trouble is, modern day mums work and are pushed for time no doubt, unlike mums of long ago whose job was in the home. How times have changed.

    What’s the answer? Oh, let’s build more homes out of town and make people use their cars to and from to school etc.

    Yes BMW churn out 1000’s of cars, but if the public demand cars then manufacturers will build them.

    It’ll only get worse ……

  16. Daniel

    If there was a problem with too many cars – be it traffic, or climate, or whatever…and manufacturers stopped making them then I reckon people would buy less of them.

    You can’t have ‘Greta’ on the news one minute, then have an advert during the break saying “buy cars, buy cars, buy cars’.

    It’s a bit ludicrous really.

  17. moan again

    nice to know that all those kids that attended gretas meeting in bristol have given up their i phones ,laptops etc and are now cycling/walking to school,just saying. maybe the walkining/cycling to school in abingdon would help, appreciate that in certain circumstance a car would still be deemed as essential,just saying

  18. Dino Marks

    Moan again,
    The irony of that is that young Greta flies all over the world with an entourage of carers adding to the problem.
    We moan about child exploitation in many parts of the world yet the poster Child of saving this planet is being exploited right in front of us.

  19. Robin

    No Dino Marks and Moan Again, the irony is that people find it easier to vilify and criticise a young person doing her best to try and make things better for everyone than to do something constructive about it themselves. The world has a long, sad history of not taking young passionate people (often women) seriously in their concerns because they challenge their comfortable status quo. From Dora Thewlis through Sophie Scholl and on to the teenage Vietnam war protesters. Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist from the age of 19, long before she refused to give up her seat on that bus. Young people generally recognise that they have more to lose if there is no change while the older establishment generally perceive (usually incorrectly) that they have more to lose if change happens.

  20. moan again

    Robin,point I was making was that its all very well sciving off school and protesting but how many of them have made adjustments to their day to day lives as mentioned in my previous comment

  21. moan again

    After our daughter of fifteen years of age was moved to tears by the speech of Greta Thunberg at the UN the other day, she became angry with our generation “who had been doing nothing for thirty years” so, we decided to help her prevent what the girl on TV announced of “massive eradication and the disappearance of entire ecosystems”.

    We are now committed to give our daughter a future again, by doing our part to help cool the planet four degrees.

    From now on she will go to school on a bicycle, because driving her by car costs fuel, and fuel puts emissions into the atmosphere. Of course it will be winter soon and then she will want to go by bus, but cycling through the freezing builds resilience.

    Of course, she is now asking for an electric bicycle, but we have shown her the devastation caused to the areas of the planet as a result of mining for the extraction of Lithium and other minerals used to make batteries for electric bicycles, so she will be pedalling, or walking. Which will not harm her, or the planet. We used to cycle and walk to school too.
    Since the girl on TV demanded “we need to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels” and our daughter agreed with her, we have disconnected the heat vent in her room. The temperature is now dropping to twelve degrees in the evening, and will drop below freezing in the winter, we have promised to buy her an extra sweater, hat, tights, gloves and a blanket.

    For the same reason we have decided that from now on she only takes a cold shower. She will wash her clothes by hand, with a wooden washboard, because the washing machine is simply a power consumer and since the dryer uses natural gas, she will hang her clothes on the clothes line to dry, just like my parents and grandparents used to do.
    Speaking of clothes, the ones that she currently has are all synthetic, so made from petroleum. Therefore on Monday, we will bring all her designer clothing to the secondhand shop.

    We have found an eco store where the only clothing they sell is made from undyed and unbleached linen and jute. Also can’t have clothes made on wool, because the emissions from farting sheep are supposedly causing bad weather.
    It shouldn’t matter that it looks good on her, or that she is going to be laughed at, dressing in colourless, bland clothes and without a wireless bra, but that is the price she has to pay for the benefit of The Climate.
    Cotton is out of the question, as it comes from distant lands and pesticides are used for it. Very bad for the environment.

    We just saw on her Instagram that she’s pretty angry with us. This was not our intention.

    From now on, at 7 p.m. We will turn off the WiFi and we will only switch it on again the next day after dinner for two hours. In this way we will save on electricity, so she is not bothered by electro-stress and will be totally isolated from the outside world. This way, she can concentrate solely on her homework. At eleven o’clock in the evening we will pull the breaker to shut the power off to her room, so she knows that dark is really dark. That will save a lot of CO2.

    She will no longer be participating in winter sports to ski lodges and resorts, nor will she be going on anymore vacations with us, because our vacation destinations are practically inaccessible by bicycle.
    Since our daughter fully agrees with the girl on TV that the CO2 emissions and footprints of her great-grandparents are to blame for ‘killing our planet’, what all this simply means, is that she also has to live like her great-grandparents and they never had a holiday, a car or even a bicycle.
    We haven’t talked about the carbon footprint of food yet.

    Zero CO2 footprint means no meat, no fish and no poultry, but also no meat substitutes that are based on soy (after all, that grows in farmers fields, that use machinery to harvest the beans, trucks to transport to the processing plants, where more energy is used, then trucked to the packaging/canning plants, and trucked once again to the stores) and also no imported food, because that has a negative ecological effect. And absolutely no chocolate from Africa, no coffee from South America and no tea from Asia.

    Only homegrown potatoes, vegetables and fruit that have been grown in local cold soil, because greenhouses run on boilers, piped in CO2 and artificial light. Apparently, these things are also bad for The Climate. We will teach her how to grow her own food.

    Bread is still possible, but butter, milk, cheese and yogurt, cottage cheese and cream come from cows and they emit CO2. No more margarine and no oils will be used for the frying pan, because that fat is palm oil from plantations in Borneo where rain forests first grew.
    No ice cream in the summer. No soft drinks and no energy drinks, as the bubbles are CO2.

    We will also ban all plastic, because it comes from chemical factories. Everything made of steel and aluminium must also be removed. Have you ever seen the amount of energy a blast furnace consumes or an aluminium smelter? All bad for the climate!

    We will replace her memory foam pillow top mattress, with a jute bag filled with straw, with a horse hair pillow.

    And finally, she will no longer be using makeup, soap, shampoo, cream, lotion, conditioner, toothpaste and medication. Facecloths will all be linen, that she can wash by hand, with her wooden washboard, just like her female ancestors did before climate change made her angry at us for destroying her future.

    In this way we will help her to do her part to prevent mass extinction, water levels rising and the disappearance of entire ecosystems.

    If she truly believes she wants to walk the talk of the girl on TV, she will gladly accept and happily embrace her new way of life.

  22. Su

    Moan Again… I really wish you hadn’t bothered with typing all that, though I suspect you cut and pasted it from some other unattributed source. Seriously, have a good chat with yourself.

  23. moan again

    34 was a copied satirical post but with an underlying message in that by all means protest but be prepared to contribute in some way to the reduction in climate change

  24. Robin

    Just out of interest Moan Again, what do you think will have the greater impact. You punishing your daughter because she dared to be moved by the state of the planet or her coming together with others of her own age and a similar mindset and lobbying for policies aimed at the step change in consumerism, food production, transport and energy production that we need?

  25. Iain

    I’d be interested to hear your objective evidence Moan Again about Greta Thunberg’s flights (post 31) given she doesn’t fly (even to speak to the UN in the States). Perhaps you can’t cope with a young person actually standing up for what she believes.

    She’s a very impressive character as far as I can see in stark contrasts to some of the rubbish you posted above!

  26. Robin

    and of course Moan Again, the great thing about the wholey ridiculous ‘but I once saw a climate change protester using a plastic bottle, therefore they’re all hypocrites’ argument is that if any of them do completely withdraw from being a part of the system they’re trying to change you can then label them as looney anarchist hippies and use that as an excuse not to think about their message instesd. For my generation being ‘eco friendly’ was all about individual actions like recycling newspapers, not using plastic bags, avoiding CFC propellants, getting energy efficient bulbs, washing clothes at a lower temperature and turning lights off when we left a room. All that stuff is still great, and important but sadly it’s not going to be enough. What the current generation of climate change activists understand and articulate very well if you can just allow yourself to listen to what they’re saying, rather than hearing what you think they’re saying is that we need to create new ways of living rather than tinkering at the edges of the old ways. It’s not about electric cars or hydrogen fuel cells (although they are important in their own way) , it’s about creating a society with a massively reduced requirement for travel and the movement of goods. Its not about solar or wind generation (again, obviously an important step) it’s about using less energy by building better housing, taking a step back from defining our worth by what we own and how often we replace it and designing goods informed by a repair culture and not built in obsolescence. We already have all the technology we need to sort this mess out, we just need the will and sense of responsibility to future generations to use it.
    If you are genuinely interested in exploring what needs to be done, might I point you towards CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain resesrch?


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