We're huge fans of getting up early and counting cars. That's lucky, as it's something we end up doing quite a bit of, in the quest for data to enable us to reduce school run traffic locally. And it tends to be quite revealing. Our latest foray was to Belair Park, a pretty park in West Dulwich. It has a free car park, owned by Dulwich Estates, just off the south circular, which we think makes it easier for parents at the non-catchment schools nearby to drive the school run. We did the maths and discovered 86% of cars that enter the car park between 8-9.15am were doing the school run. We wrote the following letter to Dulwich Estate, who run the car park. We haven't heard back yet. Please feel free to drop them a line to spur them on! firstname.lastname@example.org
To Dulwich Estate Management,
We are a local community group campaigning for more convenient, sustainable ways for pupils to travel to school. We think this involves making sustainable travel choices both safer and more convenient in relation to single-family car travel. Whilst Dulwich is very much leading the way on enabling active travel journeys to school, we have estimated that the Dulwich school run still causes an increase in vehicle volumes by up to 50% in roads in West Dulwich, causing damaging congestion to all those living & travelling in the area.
With this in mind, we would really appreciate if the Dulwich Estate would give the following points consideration:
1. Charging for parking in Belair car park.
Based on our recent vehicle & park-use count, it is clear that the primary function of this car park serves as a means for people to access Dulwich Prep & Oakfield schools & West Dulwich station, rather than for park-goers using the park. We conducted a count of vehicles & the movement of their occupants on 10th November 2022 with the following results:
Between 8-9.15 AM
Cars In: 71, Cars Out 28
Of the 71 cars coming into the car park:
39%, 28 cars - families parking for access to Oakfield school
47%. 33 cars - families parking for access to Dulwich Prep
6% - 4 cars - Individuals parking & exiting immediately (suspect for W-D station access)
8% -6 cars - Individuals using park
31 cars remained at 9.15AM, well past school drop-off time, hence most of these vehicles are stored in the space for longer periods of time for personal use entirely unrelated to enjoyment of the park. 31 cars seemed to be 40-50% of the car-park.
Anecdotal evidence of use of the car park enabling journeys entirely unrelated to enjoyment of Belair park shown in this photo below.
We think charging to access Belair car park, either all day, or at least from 8-10am and 3-6pm, would have a significant impact in deterring school run car trips, and making alternatives like cycling, school-buses or car-pooling more appealing & affordable by comparison.
2. School Street solutions for College Road & Huntslip Road
Lambeth & Southwark councils are implementing "school street" solutions where roads around schools are closed at drop off & pick up time to make the environment around schools safer for children & to protect those actively travelling to them. We would very much like to see the areas from on College Road from South Circular - College Road Toll junction, & Hunstlip Road, being turned into School Streets, to the benefit of all the pupils and all the families travelling actively to Dulwich Prep, Dulwich College & Kingsdale.
We'd welcome the opportunity to meet with a member of the Estate to discuss further, specifically perhaps on site at the car-park, so the Estate can see first-hand this un-sustainable use of it.
Thanks for your consideration.
Nicola Pastore & Claire McDonald
Tentative. Nervous. Nicola was worried that an entire evening of traffic chat might not be scintillating enough for the cone at the October SSR meet. She needn't have worried. By the end of the night there were seven of them (people, not cones) so the pressure was off. And actually, so much fun was had, the bar staff had to ask us to leave at closing time. It's true! And so, the November meet is upon us - Monday 7th November. Come! Join us and the cone at the Tulse Hill Hotel at 8pm. We look forward to meeting you. Claire & Nicola
It's already time for our next monthly meeting - how did that happen? Please come and see us tomorrow (3/10) at the Rosendale Pub, Rosendale Road at 8pm. The little cone will be on the table. We even have some attendees who have committed to coming! It's going to be fun! Catch up on all the latest traffic-related gossip. NOWHERE is more fun on a Monday night!