Dangerous and anti-social driving and parking on the school run have become a concern for many parents and teachers. And, in response, traffic-calming measures are being introduced in some areas to keep children safe as they travel to and from school. Such measures include fixed enforcement cameras and pavement bollards.
Some schools are choosing to install enforcement cameras to monitor driver behaviour on the school run. For example, concerned that illegal parking is putting children at risk, Leicester City Council is using fixed cameras with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Such technology gives the council the evidence it needs to fine drivers who stop on yellow zigzag lines during school run periods. Anyone caught flouting the regulations (which are displayed clearly and publicly) receives a £70 fine.
The city council used a traffic regulation order (TRO) to enable it to use evidence captured by the cameras to enforce restrictions. Any council can apply for a TRO. But unfortunately, TROs are highly underused. Often because making a TRO request can be a time consuming and expensive process.
Security cameras are just one way that local councils are making safety improvements around schools. Pavement bollards are also being used to stop dangerous driving and parking. And, it could be argued that this is a less intrusive approach.
Pavement parked cars and drivers dangerously mounting the kerb to pass oncoming traffic can be hugely hazardous. Not least because they force pedestrians into the road to face oncoming traffic. This is a particular problem for people with mobility issues, or busy mums and dads with pushchairs. Bollards can force a stop to such behaviour.
Keeping with an educational theme, one school has even seen the installation of pencil-shaped coloured bollards to help stop dangerous driver behaviour outside their school!
Of course, parking bollards are effective when it comes to keeping people and places safe. But sometimes, having static, unmoveable bollards can be a problem for other reasons. Especially when dangerous driving is only a problem twice a day. In such cases, retractable bollards that pop up when needed, and disappear after the school run could be a better solution.
Temporarily restricting access to vehicles, one school in London used folding bollards to create a pedestrian and cycle only zone – but only during the school run.
With this approach, times for the restrictions can be determined in agreement with the council, residents and the school. These can be for between 30-45 minutes and only on weekdays and term times.
Crucially, this method doesn’t just help to keep children safe; it also mitigates the inconvenience and nuisance caused to residents by inconsiderate parking and honking horns during the start and end of the school day.
Other traffic calming measures
In addition to cameras, fines and pavement bollards, local authorities across the UK are also investing in the following safety improvements around schools:
- Improved walking routes
- Prominent keep clear zigzag/dragon teeth markings
- New crossings
- New speed limit signs
- Vehicle-activated signs to highlight school run safety messages
- Initiatives to encourage more children to walk/cycle to school and reduce traffic at busy drop-off and pick-up times
- And more.
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