A school is hoping to drive home the message of safer parking by parents and visitors.
Churchill Community College, in Wallsend, is encouraging other schools to follow its example and help parents ‘Be a smarter parker’.
Officials at the school have been working with parents and governors over the safety risk posed in the car park on mornings and afternoons.
As a result, a new electronic barrier has been installed at the entrance to the car park while parents have also adopted community-friendly parking practices.
Gillian Allen, business manager at the school, said: “We have recently installed a new electronic barrier on our car park in response to the health and safety concerns that were created from the conflict between children and cars coming in and out of the college at the start and end of the day.
“We have worked hard through our health and safety committee, which includes parents, to look for solutions to our problems.”
Head of school, Elaine Riley added: “Parents have been really supportive in terms of parking and understand all the health and safety implications and the reasons we have made some changes.
“Although we now restrict access at these times, parents have managed to find alternative parking arrangements that do not add to the problems on Churchill Street.”
Parent Audrey Peebles said: “I feel this is the best thing that could have happened and parents have been really supportive in terms of finding other alternative parking/drop-off arrangements. It has reduced drop-offs in the car park, making it safe for everyone.”
Mayor Norma Redfearn has implemented a campaign to encourage everyone to ‘Be a smarter parker’, particularly around schools.
She is keen to see the local community to come up with solutions, including where possible, local businesses offering short term parking in their car parks around the time of school pick-up and drop-offs.
Mrs Redfearn said: “Our streets are not designed for the modern level of traffic and cars.
“It’s therefore important for everyone to work together to ensure that we don’t allow this level of traffic impact on the safety of our children.
“Inconsiderate parking at the school gates is among the worst examples of this as it puts our children in direct conflict with cars at a place that legally they shouldn’t be.
“But the only way we can overcome this is by working together – schools, parents, and their local communities, to find sensible solutions that enable everyone to ‘Be a smarter parker’.
“That way we can keep our children safe and allow them the pleasure of walking and cycling to school which also keeps them fit and healthy.”
North Tyneside Council has already put a number of measures in place to help keep areas around schools safe:-
• Parents dropping off children at school can park free of charge between 8am and 9am and 3pm and 4pm at council owned car parks;
• 20mph zones around each of the borough’s schools;
• A network of crossing patrols, which it is seeking to expand further with 30 vacancies currently being advertised;
• A full programme of learning for children through its school safety team that offers training on safe travel and developing school travel plans.