East Lothian trials car ban near Schools

The media reports ELC’s decision to ban cars from streets near a school in Haddington. If it proves effective it could be rolled out across the county.

The media reports East Lothian Council’s decision to ban cars from streets near a school in Haddington. If it proves effective it could be rolled out across the county.

Car Chaos at the Glebe - should East Lothian Council extend its car ban to Pencaitland?
Car Chaos at the Glebe – should East Lothian Council extend its car ban to Pencaitland? Tell us what you think with a comment below.
The issue of parked cars near schools is a divisive one in many areas, especially where schools and residential homes are in close proximity. In Pencaitland’s case the main point of access to the school is via the Glebe — a cul de sac which can struggle to accommodate the volume of cars that arrive for morning drop-off or afternoon pick-up.

In the past the local school has attempted to address the problem with repeated requests for parents to avoid the use of cars to bring their children to school or, if they must, to park further away. Other efforts have included carrots such as the regular ‘walk to school’ week, or more visible policing with the local PC and traffic warden being on site.

There is some anecdotal evidence that such campaigns have alleviated problems for a period but it invariably reverts back to previous levels fairly quickly.

In light of this, it now looks as if East Lothian Council has decided to adopt a fairly radical new approach, effectively banning cars from designated streets — other than those of residents and the disabled.

The Scotsman reports that the council’s senior area officer, Peter Forsyth, said “The behaviour of these drivers, who make dangerous turning and reversing manoeuvres and contribute to congestion, cause difficulties for the majority of pupils and parents who walk or cycle to and from school.

“It is totally inappropriate to try and carry out these sorts of manoeuvres close to schools where there is a great number of schoolchildren present.

Radio Scotland had a phone-in on ELC's plans earlier today - 16th Nov 2012
Radio Scotland had a phone-in on ELC’s plans earlier today (16th Nov 2012). Just click the image above to listen now.
“Following representations from the parent councils of the three schools, it was agreed to introduce the experimental traffic regulation order. East Lothian Council may be the first council in the whole of the UK to take this 
approach.”

You can read the full Scotsman report here.

On the Radio

Did you hear today’s (16th Nov 2012) Radio Scotland phone-in on this topic? If not you can still catch it using the BBC’s catch-up service for the next fortnight.

Q. What do you think of this approach? Would you welcome a ban on cars using the Glebe in Pencaitland or is it an over-reaction? Leave your comment below.


Author: pencaitland

Pencaitland Community Council exists to represent the views of local residents about local issues that matter to them. This involves close liaison with other groups in the community and helps to develop a more coherent and dynamic village environment.

378 thoughts on “East Lothian trials car ban near Schools”

  1. The trial in Haddington has been proposed because, since the new school has opened, parking has become crazy and it seems quite a lot of parents are in agreement that things are getting out of hand.

    However, the difference in Haddington is that there have been alternative parking sites proposed – ‘park and strides’ – namely the Aubigny and Tesco. Pencaitland does not have this alternative,and without such, how can this possibly work?

    Surely you can’t just say to parents dropping their kids off “Well, you just can’t”. There would have to be a safe alternative, otherwise, as has been pointed out already, parents will have to disembark their children on the main road.

    Personally, I think the village would be better served by the council addressing the ever-increasing problem of massive lorries thundering through our village.

  2. Just spotted a comment on the Courier story about this car ban which I thought was interesting….

    ” Why don’t ELC issue schools with limited parking permits for those outwith the towns who must commute?

    Everyone in the town is within walking distance and have no excuse for driving to school.

    …. or is that too simple ? “

    It does sound like a possible solution. As usual it’d be the policing of such a system that would probably prove to be the weakest link.

    Ralph

  3. Hi Rob

    “There is room to create a drop-off zone at the east end of The Glebe. The key phrase here is “drop-off zone”; the current problem is exacerbated by parents parking up for a period of time, for whatever reason.”

    It’s funny how ideas seem to get resurrected. Your drop-off zone, I now understand, was flagged as a possible solution many years ago, well before my time in the village.

    I first heard this idea a little over a month ago in discussion with the Minister. At that time we thought it was a novel idea, not knowing that it had been mooted many years earlier.

    Best

    Ralph

  4. Hi Janice

    “There has been talk recently about Pencaitland needing a heart and if they really believe that then the church and the school should work together. The church has a huge field which in my 37 years here, has only been used on a couple of occasions. With a mesh underlay and grass on top it could be a multifunctional area. It would make an ideal car park”

    Interesting idea. I do wonder though whether the Carriage House entrance is wide enough for an increase in the volume of traffic if that idea were ever realised? I don’t think there’s a lot of scope to widen the entrance/exit into the Carriage House which might banjax that idea before birth. Of course, that’s if such an idea were actually supported by church officials in Edinburgh…

    Interesting nonetheless.

    Cheers

    Ralph

  5. The Glebe was built in the mid 70s to service a school of less than a hundred pupils and thirteen houses, plus the janitor’s house. There is now a nursery, the school has doubled in size and there are numerous pre and after school clubs. The resulting significant increase in traffic, together with more people than ever before driving their children to school, is more than The Glebe can cope with. If you add to this mix the aggressive and speedy driving adopted by some parents you have a complete breakdown of any feasible traffic management.

    The vast majority of parents are considerate and do their best to work around the difficulties presented by the fact that The Glebe is a narrow cul-de-sac. It is the minority of aggressive and sometimes abusive parents who are the real problem. They seem to be of the opinion that the rule of law and normal socially acceptable behaviour does not apply to them.

    There is room to create a drop-off zone at the east end of The Glebe. The key phrase here is “drop-off zone”; the current problem is exacerbated by parents parking up for a period of time, for whatever reason.

    Whatever plan is adopted it needs to be embraced by all users. It appears to me that the Haddington scheme has been implemented out of frustration and desperation borne out of a complete lack of consideration by a minority.

    Solution? Consult the school, parent representatives, the Council’s highways department and local residents, come up with a workable traffic management scheme and monitor it to weed out the selfish minority.

  6. Well done ELC. Parking near schools should be a no no, The Glebe being a case in point.

    There is a simple solution. There has been talk recently about Pencaitland needing a heart and if they really believe that then the church and the school should work together. The church has a huge field which in my 37 years here, has only been used on a couple of occasions. With a mesh underlay and grass on top it could be a multifunctional area. It would make an ideal car park – solves the Glebe and the church’s parking issues. It also gives better access to Church facilities and if the footpath goes ahead access into school for the children.

    We will watch developments in Haddington with interest.

  7. Derek

    Good point on the parking on the main road. Pencaitland has the A6093 running through it with about 4,000 vehicles a day driving through (hard to believe).

    That said, there is a permanent lollipop man at the main road specifically there to ensure that people can get across the busy road when it’s often at one of its busiest times of the day.

    Another thought that occurred to me was — why not have nursery and P1 to p3 go in at 8.55am and have P4 to P7 go into school at 8.40am. That 15 minute gap would possibly reduce the pressure on the Glebe spaces and the occasional chaos that ensues?

    Just a thought… might be totally impractical for reasons I’m unaware of.

  8. Very likely an over reaction. Does not seem well thought out. Those who have to drive will need to park elsewhere. That will present new risks to those walking to school!

    I haven’t noticed any significant danger. Sure it’s busy. If we had to disembark on the busy main road how does that improve child safety?

  9. BBC: School-run exclusion zone plan for Haddington
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-20356036

    East Lothian News: School parking ban in Haddington
    http://www.eastlothiannews.co.uk/news/local-headlines/school-parking-ban-in-haddington-1-2632816

    Scottish Daily Express: SCOTS COUNCILLORS FIRST IN THE UK TO BAN THE SCHOOL RUN
    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/358468

    Daily Record: School run madness: Council sets 300m exclusion around primaries to stop ‘crazy parking’
    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/parents-banned-from-taking-cars-within-1438625

  10. Good point Stuart. It does leave me wondering why, with a big enough car park at the school, parents aren’t given a designated set of spaces for pick up and drop off inside school grounds? Is that a flawed notion?

    Certainly it would alleviate the sometimes chaotic scenes I see in the Glebe as cars jockey to get in and out of the street with cars parked so closely there’s very limited room for manoeuvre.

  11. Life in the Glebe at school drop off time is a certainly busy but there is nowhere else in the area for cars to stop other than the main road, which will cause real chaos.

    This is a school with a rural catchment, so walking isn’t an option for many. Sadly yet another ill-thought out scheme by the authorities.

  12. Whilst cars in the Glebe can be a real problem I’d worry that a ban, as is being trialled in Haddington, would be pretty hard to police. We have one dedicated PC for the Fa’side ward. Is he expected to pop over to monitor and control? I know voluntary efforts haven’t worked very well but I’m not convinced that a ban on cars would actually change the behaviour of regular offenders at all.

    Mind you, I also have sympathy for parents in a rush to get to work or who don’t want to let their kids walk to school over the narrow pavement right now.

    There really isn’t one universal answer but, as usual, the behaviour of a few drivers will end up affecting all those who try to be considerate and careful too.

    Ralph

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