Accident Waiting To Happen….

The sun shone as children in one Oxford community headed outside to reclaim their street.

Campbell Road in Cowley became the first place in the city on Wednesday to benefit from the Bristol-based Playing Out project.

The scheme helps residents organise temporary residential road closures for children to play outside after school.

And, as many of the commenters have pointed out, these houses seem to have huge back gardens and are a short walk away from a park. So, why the need to play in the street?

But don’t take my word for it – check out GoogleMaps:

Mum-of-two Su Frizzell, 43, said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to thinks this is great, they’re all playing on the road just like we did when we were kids.

When, presumably, there were fewer cars around?

“There’s different age groups playing togetherin the street and old people coming out to say hello.“It’s better than them all just coming home from school and watching the TV anyway.”

Why not usher them into your huge back garden, or over the park? Or are you not as keen on screaming kids when they are too close to your house, perhaps?

Fellow resident Hugh Warwick, 45, said: “It’s great, it’s getting the kids out and making the street what it should be.“It should be a place to play in, not just a place to park on.

“Everyone presumes it’s just for cars and not people and I’m not sure when it became like that.”

Newsflash, Mr Warwick, that’ll be when we decided that pavements were for people and roads for cars and it was better the twain never met…

Parent Jane Gallagher, 44, said: “The kids are chuffed to bits. They were so excited but it’s more than that.“The children are feeling like they own the street and are part of it and that’s the way it should be.

“I think we’ll be trying to do this a bit more in the future, maybe without having to close the street officially.”

That’ll be fun, eh? I’m sure the ambulance service will be very grateful for the extra call-outs. And don’t modern kids think they own the street already?

The street was closed to through traffic from 3.30pm.Residents drove their own cars on to the street guided by parents acting as stewards.

Who gave these parents the right to direct traffic on a public highway? I thought that was reserved for police and lollipop ladies? Perhaps that right can indeed be granted under one of these road closure orders?

The project was founded last year by Bristol neighbours Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose.Ms Ferguson said: “Because it’s the first time, it feels like a special event to all the residents and has got a real party atmosphere.

“But what we want to do is to make this a normal, everyday part of their lives.

Kids should be able to play out on the streets and we want to help residents make this happen for themselves.”

And if some of the residents don’t want to see this ‘happen on their streets’? What about them?

Comments are illuminating:

Your_Kidding says…Why the Oxford Mail has decided to run this story again is beyond me. Obviously didn’t get the number of comments expected last time.

I object to having to my council tax used to close roads for a bunch of lazy parents to let their kids run around in the street because these lazy parents cannot be bothered to walk to the park, of which Oxford has many.

Campbell Road is less than a minute from Florence Park, if you all so desperately want to get together as a ‘street’ organise a play date in the park.

Roads are for vehicles, not for playing in.

There’s a majority of comments in this vein, which brings out the usual suspects:

Danny A says…There are a lot of miserable people reading the Oxford Mail. When I was young I could happily play out in the street since there were fewer cars and they went more slowly. Sure “times have changed” but have they changed for the better if the area outside of everyone’s home is now a “no-go zone” unless you’re in a motorised metal box? So I say the occasional event like this is a good thing. Our road recently closed for a street party and it was a lovely chance to get to know neighbours and the kids had great fun cycling and messing about. A play-date in a park would not be the same this is about the shared space outside people’s homes, plus cycling is not allowed in the park.

Ah. So, of course, it should be allowed in front of your homes, and damn the inconvenience to your neighbours?

And when little Lucinda or George steps out onto a normal road, having forgotten their road safety as a result of this hair-brained scheme, and is promptly mown down, who will you be complaining to then?

15 comments for “Accident Waiting To Happen….

  1. john in cheshire
    October 11, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Infantile and intolerant behaviour by whoever thought up and participated in this ridiculous scheme. And no wonder kids have an ‘I want it and I want it now’ attitude to everything.

  2. October 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Why do parents think that their rights and desires trump everyone elses. So you’ve had a kid or two. Big deal.

  3. October 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I used to play in the street – we all did back then (late sixties early seventies). But back then only a couple of people in the street had cars. My father’s motorcycle combination was one of the rare motorised vehicles.

    Things were different. People should get used to the idea. Streets are for moving about. Parks and gardens are the place to play. Closing off the street to through traffic so that the little darlings can occupy it is rampant selfishness and shows an arrant disregard for anyone trying to get about the city minding their own business.

    • October 11, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      It seems selfishness is part of the parental experience. Probably for good biological reasons, of course. But our modern ‘rights for all!’ world makes it far more irritating than it should be…

  4. October 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Maybe they should close the parks to people and allow the traffic through when the streets are closed.

    • October 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      I like that idea! It’s only fair, right?

  5. October 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Fuck it, let’s drive through their gardens. 😈

    • October 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm


  6. David
    October 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    ‘Who gave these parents the right to direct traffic on a public highway? I thought that was reserved for police and lollipop ladies?’

    JuliaM I’m surprised at you! I thought kow-towing to authority wasn’t in your make up.

    Who indeed gave some men and women the ‘authority’ to tell the rest of us what to do?

    • October 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      Well, we did, when we decided we’d have a representative democracy and a civilian police force plus other delegated representatives within our social structures…

  7. Greml
    October 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I was wondering what it could possibly be that would make you seem such a cantankerous, spiteful witch when I came upon “And when little Lucinda or George steps out onto a normal road, having forgotten their road safety as a result of this hair-brained scheme, and is promptly mown down, who will you be complaining to then?”. Aha! it’s all for the sake of the cheeeldren, then?

    (Oh, and the expression is ‘hare-brained’. Makes a little sense when you think about it, doesn’t it?)

    • October 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      No, it’s certainly not for the sake of the children, because their safety is in the hands of their addle-brained parents. If they think it’s such a whiz-bang idea, who am I to gainsay them?

      I just don’t want to be expected to join the chorus of lamentation when their offspring fall foul of their poorly-thought-out policy, nor be soaked for the inevitable ‘traffic calming measures’ that will then be demanded…

      • Loki
        October 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm

        Fuck em; Darwinism will sort it out. I knocked over a little kid last week. Twat deserved it, he nearly tripped me up 😆

  8. October 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

    It could be worse. Reclaiming the streets, permenantly. Actually everybody hates it.

    • October 12, 2011 at 5:44 am

      “…an innovative community design project.”


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