Local schools, students and Kilkenny County Council are working together to create safe school zones in Kilkenny!
|April O'Keeffe and Dad||Enjoying the walk to school|
Students returning to school in St Canice’s and Loreto after the mid-term break, can look forward to a pleasant environment outside the school gates. Front of school congestion is a chronic problem across Ireland. Recently 200 school principals responded to national survey, identifying vehicle parking and vehicle drop off congestion as the number one challenge for social distancing at the front of their school. Surveys carried out in both schools in Kilkenny have also highlighted the lack of safety for students due to the numbers of cars dropping off at the school gates. There has been a great effort from parents and students to reduce the congestion at entrances. This has been hugely helped by Kilkenny Agricultural Society who have allowed their nearby grounds to be used as a Park and Stride facility. Not only has this succeeded in removing the cars from the school gates, it has also facilitated students living further away, to walk the last part of their journey to school. This commute will be further enhanced by the installation of bollards for the protection of cycle lanes around the two schools and to provide additional space for the footpaths.
Caitríona Corr, Cycling Officer with Kilkenny County CounciI, states
“the installation of temporary barriers will ensure that the cycle lanes are free of cars and that children won’t be pushed out into the carriageway as they try to avoid parked cars. They will also serve to calm traffic on both routes and provide children with a safer environment for cycling. We understand that some parents will need to use their cars to drop their children to school but we would ask them to use the Park and Stride or drop away from the school instead of blocking the school gates.”
Walking, cycling or scooting to school reduces congestion for the whole community and the benefits are far reaching. The reduction in traffic and idling vehicles leads to cleaner air for young lungs and a more pleasant environment for all. An active commute to school ensures a brighter start to the day for students and additional opportunities for exercise in the outdoors, with the company of your school mates.
Commenting on the initiative, Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr. John Coonan, said:
“I am delighted Kilkenny County Council are implementing measures such as safe school zones for the safety of children accessing our schools. Large volumes of traffic outside school gates results in children having no safe access to school and having to move around parked and turning vehicles to get into the school grounds.”
Ian Gardner, City Engineer with Kilkenny County Council said
“the Local Transport Plan is currently in preparation and we will be looking to prepare designs of the highest standards to achieve our goal of promoting sustainable forms of transport in Kilkenny City and the Environs. In the interim, we are continuing to work with schools on Safe School Zones and we are putting in place this temporary infrastructure to facilitate safer journeys for children and young people.”