Headington parents protest against dangerous traffic conditions around schools

The heavy traffic conditions for children making their way to school in Headington have always been dangerous, but the temporary closure of a footpath in Quarry has exacerbated the problem. Now Headington parents have had enough.

On a congested, dark, narrow road, a motorist moves cones placed alongside a narrow pavement
A motorist moves cones intended to keep young children safe on their way to pre-school

Local parents with children at Windmill Primary and Quarry Preschool have long been concerned about the high traffic volume and dangerous driving during rush hour through Headington Quarry.

However, the danger to children has recently been brought to a head by the temporary closure of the popular walking path through Holy Trinity Church graveyard for building work, forcing parents to use Quarry Hollow as their route to school until July 2024 at the earliest.

As is well known locally, Headington Quarry is a busy and dangerous cut-through route, with drivers using it as a short cut from the Ring Road through to Margaret Road and Quarry Road, with knock-on effects for Wood Farm and the rest of Headington. 

Quarry Hollow, in particular, is a narrow road with large numbers of cars and heavy duty vehicles using it, often mounting the pavement to get past one another even whilst people are on the already narrow pavement. 

Complaints to police and local councillors have led to temporary cones being placed on the road along the pavement, which frustrated drivers simply move and provide no real protection in any event.

We need a permanent, effective traffic solution to keep children in Headington safe

Although the situation for pedestrians in Quarry is currently even worse than usual, successive generations of children have faced ever increasing levels of danger as traffic volumes have steadily risen over the years, while successive generations of parents who have tried to raise the alarm have been told nothing will be done about the situation until someone is killed or seriously injured.

With significant new housing coming to Headington’s periphery in the near future, without positive measures the situation will only get worse.

Headington Quarry was due to be made into a low-traffic neighbourhood in Spring 2022, with a physical filter (e.g. bollards and planters) across the Quarry Hollow/Quarry Road junction to prevent drivers accessing Quarry Road and Margaret Road from the Quarry.  These were quietly dropped with no formal reason or decision being issued, apparently due to budget limitations and political hesitation (see What’s happened to the Headington low-traffic neighbourhoods?).

The Quarry low-traffic neighbourhood would have put a stop to the road violence and pollution caused by rat-running traffic there, creating safe routes to school for Windmill Primary and Quarry Preschool children, as well as for secondary school children making their way to Cheney School from Barton and Risinghurst and everyone who lives in or travels through the Quarry by walking, cycling and wheeling.

Please join parents at Quarry Hollow on Wednesday 6 December between 8am and 9.30am to make the point that we will not wait for a child to be seriously injured or killed before this clear risk to safety is addressed.

Wear high-visibility clothing and bring a snappy sign (if you can).

If you can’t make the protests but support the parents, please

  • write to Councillor Andrew Gant, who has the power to do something about this, asking him to put in place measures that will properly protect children in the Quarry (andrew.gant@oxfordshire.gov.uk) and
  • write to your local councillors to let them know you support low-traffic neighbourhoods in your area in just two clicks.

A deadly war is being waged on our children by drivers – it is time to hit the brakes | Donnachadh McCarthy
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