Tony observes that “back to school” means much more traffic. He suggests that it’s down to private schools, which may well be the case in his patch of Oxford (and explaining why he has only just noticed the increase because those schools only went back this week rather than last week like the plebs!), but I have to say that my observations suggest all kinds of schools attract far more morning and afternoon traffic onto the roads than is healthy for anyone.
Exercise is good and I’m sure children would benefit from a dose of walking at the start and end of the school day. I suspect it may even be safer. If you’ve got a wide mix of children and a good dose of parents out on the streets, social health may be better than when those that can hide in their shiny metal boxes and the few that can’t are left to walk the streets alone.
Of course, many children are sent to schools that are beyond walking distance. However, there is an easy solution! As someone who grew up with the privilege of excelling in local schools, walking to and fro and being free to engage in multifarious after-school activities, I’m a strong advocate for making a local choice. I’m not a parent, so I don’t pretend to have that perspective, but I was a child. Your local school certainly isn’t going to rise up the league tables (for what they’re worth) if all the teachers have to work with are the kids who couldn’t get in anywhere else.
Just because we can drive and cover more ground than pedestrians doesn’t mean it’s an A-grade idea for anyone.