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hazelwood lane project

The Hazelwood Lane Project: encouraging active travel to a school street

A group comprising parents of children at Hazelwood School and nearby residents are asking the public to sign a petition to Enfield Council in support of the Hazelwood Lane Project, which was launched this week to coincide with Walk to School Week.It proposes major improvements to pavements, road crossings and public spaces between Green Lanes and Hazelwood School, all of which are currently in a very poor state. The objective is to encourage sustainable and active travel, reduce the number of car drop-offs outside the school and make it easier for children to travel to school independently.

Currently Hazelwood Lane presents multiple obstacles to children walking and scooting, parents pushing buggies and people using mobility aids. There are numerous trip hazards, such as cracked paving slabs and protruding manhole covers; no dropped kerbs where people need to cross the road; inconsistencies in pavement levels, slopes, widths and surfaces at the many points where resident driveways cross pavements; and nothing to encourage drivers to follow the highway code and give way to pedestrians when turning.

walk to school week

Walk to School Week is a campaign run each year by the charity Living Streets.

Writing in the school newsletter, Hazelwood School's head teacher, Josh Newham, says that all pupils will be encouraged to walk, scoot or cycle to school as often as they can during the week; if that isn't a practical option, parents are encouraged to park away from the school and walk the final part of the journey ("drive and stride").

For those children who already walk to school, there will be extra challenges. Each class will make a pledge, decide on a target to meet and if the class collectively meets that target, they will win a prize.

Among suggestions made by the campaigners is the replacement of the current chaotic mix of different paving types by resin-bonded gravel or tarmac surfacing, with the kerb line dropped consistently along both sides of the road to create a smooth and consistent pavement while allowing residents to access their front garden parking. They want to see "Copenhagen crossings" to provide seamless walking and scooting across side roads and to calm traffic. And they have imaginative proposals for street art and more "greening", all designed to make the street a more pleasurable pedestrian experience and a "destination", so that for pupils the walk to school becomes exciting and attractive, offering projects that they can get involved in themselves.

A thousand signatures

The small team of parents and local residents behind the Hazelwood Lane Project have published their initial proposals on social media and launched an online petition. They'd like to amass a thousand digital signatures so that when they talk to the council and potential funders they can point to strong public support.

The project has the support of Hazelwood School's new head teacher, who has endorsed it in the most recent school newsletter.

What next?

With strong evidence of community support, the next steps for the project team would be to investigate the feasibility of their ideas, to engage with Enfield Council, with parents and neighbours and to look for sources of funding.

The state of the Hazelwood Lane pavements

pavement problems in hazelwood lane

pavement problems in hazelwood lane

pavement problems in hazelwood lane

pavement problems in hazelwood lane

Just four of many photos showing the problems encountered by people walking between Green Lanes and New River Crescent - taken from the Hazelwood Lane Project presentation slides.

The two maps below, taken from the same presentation, show proposals for dealing with road crossings and suggested places for street art. The slides include photographs giving examples of similar solutions already implemented in other urban areas..

hazelwood crossings map

 hazelwood art map

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