TRAFFIC LIGHT TROUBLE: New school car park on schedule
The Spital, Yarm, Image: LDRS
A traffic light timing error has been rectified in Yarm amid hopes a new car park can ease congestion troubles dogging a busy route.
Cars backed up on The Spital this week in the town as pupils returned to school.
Work on Yarm School’s new 136-space car park is continuing with the aim of getting parents to drop off youngsters away from the main road to reduce tailbacks.
Three spaces will also be created for coaches to take pupils within the school grounds.
It’s understood a timing issue with a set of traffic lights on the new three-way traffic signal-controlled access to the school has now been solved.
And Yarm School says work on the car park revamp is on schedule.
A school spokesperson said: “The works carried out on The Spital were completed over the summer period to avoid impacting the traffic after the start of term.
“We understand that there may have been a temporary fault with the traffic lights, which are the responsibility of Stockton Council, however the lights should now remain on green until the new car park is completed during October half term.
“There are currently some additional temporary lights further south on Thirsk Road which are not related to the School.
“The school remains proactive in managing parking to minimise traffic congestion at peak school hours, and many of our older pupils walk to school or use the dedicated school coach service.”
Teesside politicians have long complained in the past about the “Yarm crawl” at peak times.
Efforts to create a 59-space long stay car park off West Street hope to ease some of the High Street logjams.
Cllr Andrew Sherris, independent member for Yarm, said major schemes tended to have initial teething problems but was hopeful improvements would come when it was completed.
He added: “There will also be yellow lines up The Spital to prevent parking from those who work in Yarm and often leave cars parked all day.
“While I am disappointed not to have all buses removed off the road into the car park, there has been a reduction and following completion there will be an ongoing safety audit to monitor how things are working.
“We are also looking forward to work starting on the new long stay car park in West Street and this will bring significant improvements for residents, visitors and the businesses.”
Cllr Alan Gallafant, chairman of Yarm Town Council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he met school leaders to discuss bus parking a couple of weeks ago.
“They were saying disruption was unavoidable until they get certain things done,” he said.
“I think everything will iron itself out.”
He added: “It’s cracking eggs to make an omelette – you have to do it.”
Cllr Gallafant said he had his “fingers crossed” having spoken to a resident in Goose Pasture who’d raised doubts about how long parents would use the bespoke car park.
“He reckons it’s possible they’ll go into the car park – but when they find they can’t get out straight away or they’re stuck in traffic waiting to get out, they may start abandoning kids on The Spital again.
“That’s one of those things where we have to wait and see.”
Meanwhile, Conservative councillor Dan Fagan said he’d also worked with council teams on traffic problems.
He said: “I’m hoping that once the car park is up and running, the traffic flow past the school will be better.
“At least one coach and all the mini-buses will be parked in the car park, I’m told.
“There has been some concern from residents about the bus lane parking space marked out on the road, and whether that will create a bottleneck.
“But I’ve been reassured by council officers that is not going to be the case – and there will be room for traffic to move around the remaining one or two buses which might be parked there
“We’ll have to see how it goes but I’m hopeful it will be helpful for the traffic flow.”
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Demcracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV