Perils of the School Run

Article in the Rutherglen Reformer 7th December 2017 by Councillor Robert Brown 

The Rutherglen Reformer has reported regularly on the increasing volume of cars on local roads, and speeding and other concerns by local residents across many local streets – including Broomieknowe Road, Greenlees Road, Richmond Drive, Calderwood Road and Curtis Avenue amongst others.

This week we had the first meeting of the Roads Safety Forum – potentially a very influential body made up of Councillors, roads and education officials and police amongst others.

The single biggest pressure point is probably around local schools at the morning and afternoon school runs. It is fair to say that most parents drive with consideration for others, particularly children. However hurry to get to work, impatience and aggression are also an unwelcome feature from a minority of parents and carers at many schools. Some people seem to think it is OK to double park, block car park routes, obstruct resident driveways and park on pavements. Double yellow lines and prohibitive zig zags are there for other people!

The Council have taken a number of initiatives to encourage children to walk to school. A range of leaflets and publicity materials are available. Everyone is aware of the health benefits of having more exercise and walking more. Most primary schools have a School Travel Plan – and pupil Junior Road Safety Officers who take their duties very seriously!

Yet the sad truth is that little change is being effected in the proportions of children who walk to school – and the more congested the school gate, the less attractive walking or cycling becomes.

So the Roads Safety Forum is looking at what more can be done to make travel to school safer, to reduce school gate congestion, to reduce unnecessary parking around schools and to persuade more children (and parents) of the benefits of walking to school.

The safety of children has to be the first consideration. I want to see the best ideas across the Council and from other areas brought together to make a real impact, making the school gate safer and routes to school which are pleasant for children and parents alike.

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