CONGESTION at the school gates is a well known problem and is caused by inconsiderate drivers, also known as ‘dozy parkers’, who stop or park outside primary and nursery schools.
The ‘Smart Parker’ campaign highlights the importance of parking away from the school gates and encourages pupils to walk to and from school, either all or part of the way. ‘The Smart Parker’ concept identifies its many benefits in terms of health and fitness, the environment, citizenship, road and personal safety.
Schools have been issued with a banner for display outside the school, as well as campaign posters and leaflets, pupil stickers and car stickers.
The ‘Smart Parker’ resources are helping change attitudes to school travel and aim to positively influence travel behaviour among car users, increase the number of pupils walking or cycling to and from school, and impact on modal shift.
David McDove, assistant business manager (roads strategy and safety) with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “Cars parked immediately outside the school gates can be a real concern in terms of road safety, reducing the inter-visibility between pedestrians and drivers and forcing children to cross between parked cars. We are asking everyone to think about other road users’ safety and be a ‘Smart Parker’, to park away from the school gates and certainly clear of the yellow zig-zag keep clear lines.”
Schools and centres across the council area are being encouraged to look at their own locations and use the Smart Parker resources to support their work in achieving a reduction in the number of pupils travelling to and from school by car or at least reduce the number of cars stopping at the school gates.
In North Lanarkshire Council, around half of all school children currently don’t walk to school regularly, with 30% being driven to school in cars, despite the fact that the average distance to primary schools remains around one mile. This trend is contributing not only to urban congestion but also to reduced physical activity, increased childhood obesity and air pollution.