Friday, 17 January 2014

Legal action to stop parking at school gates

Car drivers who park irresponsibly outside local schools could soon find themselves in trouble with the police.

North Ayrshire Council’s ruling SNP Cabinet will this week consider a proposal to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order, which would make it illegal to park on ‘Keep Clear’ zig-zags near to school gates.  Until now, the ‘Keep Clear’ message has been advisory only and relied on voluntary compliance by parents and others dropping-off and picking-up children.

However, the Council is now likely to back the introduction of legal enforcement after pleas to car users to park considerately largely fell on deaf ears.

the3towns has previously reported concerns over cars being parked on zig-zags at St Peter’s Primary School in Ardrossan’s South Isle Road (see above photo).  In a report for the SNP Cabinet, the Council’s Corporate Director (Development & Environment), Mr Craig Hatton, says, “Traffic congestion at school opening and closing times is often caused by parents parking inappropriately as near to the school entrance as possible.  Often these cars cause a danger to pedestrians and cyclists as they block the footpath or reduce visibility when children are crossing the road.

“Many schools are very concerned about the increased level of traffic management problems on the roads surrounding the school campus and, following discussions with Police Scotland, it is considered appropriate to introduce this TRO [Traffic Management Order] to assist Police Scotland in carrying out their enforcement duties.”

If agreed by the SNP Cabinet, and ratified by the full Council, the TRO would use provisions within the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to prohibit stopping or parking on existing school ‘Keep Clear’ markings between the hours of 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.  It is not proposed to introduce any new markings at schools, at the present time, which means the new traffic regulations would not apply at Ardrossan Academy, Auchenharvie Academy, Dykesmains Primary, Hayocks Primary School, Mayfield Primary, St Anthony's Primary, St John's Primary, James McFarlane School and James Reid School.

Craig Hatton will tell councillors, “In North Ayrshire, the School Travel Plan Officer is responsible for the development and promotion of active travel initiatives within schools.  A key element of this role is to encourage and support families to find healthy and sustainable travel modes on the school journey which could reduce the number of vehicles parking at schools.  Some of the initiatives that are being promoted include School Travel Plans, Park and Stride, Walk to School Week and Cycle to School Day.”

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