Lollipop men and women are fast disappearing from the roads of Salford as a new Salford Council report shows that within the last 12 months their numbers have been reduced from 92 to 63.
Councils are not legally obliged to provide School Crossing Points, or SCPs, as the responsibility for getting kids to school safely ultimately lies with their parents. This has allowed many local authorities across the country to cut the service to save money, despite protests from communities.
Salford City Council has never stated publicly that it has a policy to axe lollipop people – it's just that almost one third of them have been `disestablished' since a review in summer 2012...or what the Council calls "a phased reduction of SCP points".
The Council's latest report on SCPs doesn't actually explain why there's been such a dramatic loss of lollipop people, merely stating that their establishment or disestablishment is dependent on `changes to infrastructure and road users travel patterns'.
While the Council's `bulldozing schools for the future' programme knocked plenty of schools down, including Langworthy Road, Tootal Drive and Seedley primaries, other ones, like River View and Willow Tree opened, so the lollipop loss can't just be attributed to this factor.
The Council report states that `existing school crossing patrol points are regularly monitored to ensure that they continue to reach the PV2 criteria'…
"…The PV2 is the figure generated from surveys which count the number of child pedestrians crossing at a location and also the number of vehicles that travel along the road during the busiest thirty minutes, usually the morning drop off period. The consequent figure is then subject to various adjustment factors such as carriageway width, visibility and speed of traffic but is finally used to generate an objective figure for each site.
"In order to qualify for an SCP the figure must be >4,000,000 otherwise it indicates that either the number of children crossing is very low, or the flow of traffic is light enough to allow substantial gaps that pedestrians can use to cross in relative safety…"
Whatever. With a drop of 29 lollipop people in twelve months, there must be a lot of children not wanting to cross roads any more in the city. The Council report concludes…
"The imperative is to ensure that Salford has a school crossing patrol service that is efficient, professional and ensures that children can travel safely to school and is in line with National guidelines."