Pupils and teachers across Edinburgh have joined a campaign to discourage inconsiderate parking at school gates.
The ParkSmart initiative, which began last week, aims to cut congestion at the beginning and end of the school day while promoting active travel amongst children and their families.
The three-week scheme, running at 19 schools, raises awareness of the hazards caused by drivers parking on yellow zig zag lines, double parking or mounting the pavement.
Instead, parents are being encouraged to consider alternative modes of transport, such as walking and cycling, or ‘park and stride’ – parking further away from school and walking the last part of the journey.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We want to create a safer, more relaxed atmosphere around schools, so that’s why we’re working to discourage parents from driving straight up to the gates at the start and end of the day.
“We’ve already seen from our School Streets scheme how limiting traffic around schools can have a positive impact, so I’m certain that this period of awareness-raising as part of ParkSmart will have a similar effect and result in parents rethinking their travel choices.”
Irene Brennan, Head Teacher at Flora Stevenson’s Primary School, which is participating in the campaign, said: ‘We are delighted to participate in this excellent initiative. Considerate parking affects the safety, health and wellbeing of our children and our relationships with our neighbours. At Flora’s children, staff and parents are looking forward to seeing the positive impact of this initiative.”
During the first week of action, pupils have been sharing their own ways of getting to school as well as surveying traffic outside their school gates. They’ve also been asking parents to pledge to walk, cycle or park and stride to school in future.
In the second week, parking attendants will visit schools, issuing tickets to those who persistently park on double yellow lines, while pupils will continue to learn about safe and active travel.
In the last week, participants will carry out final surveys and traffic counts to compare with the beginning of the campaign and to reflect on lessons learned.
ParkSmart builds on the success of the School Streets initiative, which was introduced to nine schools from September 2015, and restricts cars from adjacent streets at the beginning and end of the day. Since launching, this initiative has seen more children walking to school, in addition to a reduction in car speeds on nearby streets.
Schools involved in ParkSmart
Broughton Primary School
Castleview Primary School
Craigentinny Primary School
Ferryhill Primary School
Flora Stevenson Primary School
Granton Primary School
Greendykes Early Years Centre
Hermitage Park Primary School
Holy Cross RC Primary School
Leith Primary School
Leith Walk Primary School
Lorne Primary School
Murrayburn Primary School
St Mary’s RC Primary School (Edinburgh)
St Mary’s RC Primary School (Leith)
Stockbridge Primary School
Trinity Primary School
Victoria Primary School
Wardie Primary School