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Safe Routes Programme Installed At Two Schools In Arklow

Two new Safe Routes to School schemes (SRTS) have been installed at SS Michael and Peter Junior National School and St John’s Senior National School in Arklow.

An initiative of the Department of Transport, the programme is co-ordinated by the SRTS Team, which is part of the Environmental Education Unit at An Taisce, in partnership with the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the local authorities.

 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national programme focused on improving safety at the front of schools ­and facilitating active travel to schools. It has three overarching aims:

  • To accelerate the delivery of walking/scooting and cycling infrastructure on key access routes to schools.
  • To provide ‘front of school’ treatments which will enhance access to school grounds.
  • To expand the amount of bike parking available at schools.

The two Arklow schools were amongst 932 schools across the country who applied for the programme. This was in response to safety concerns being experienced in the vicinity of the schools over the last number of years.

 Ultimately, they wished to create a safer environment for the children attending these schools. Both were selected to participate in Round 1 of the programme.

 As part of the process engagement took place with the school community and a parent survey was conducted in 2021 to establish the main concerns for parents and students when traveling to the schools:

•                     68% of parents surveyed thought safety was a problem at the front of school

•                     97% said they would you support works at the front of school that improve student safety, putting pedestrians and cyclists first

Over 40% of respondents commented on issues of illegal or dangerous parking.

A Safe Route to School delivery plan was reviewed and agreed with the school, the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Wicklow County Council.

The project has been designed by consultant engineers based on current guidance and the provision of bollards, high friction road surfacing, signage and narrowing of carriageways, with the aim to reduce the number of illegally and dangerously parked cars at the front of school, and make it more accessible for those walking, cycling, scooting, and wheeling to school.

 While the scheme along Castle Park resulted in a net loss of seven car parking spaces, three new spaces were installed on Dunnes Lanes and two new spaces further down the hill near M & C Grocery shop.

 Arklow MD are also currently carrying out a review of the layout of Castle Park carpark and the preliminary design shows a possible increase of 12-14 parking spaces.

This will result in an overall gain of five to seven additional car parking spaces within the vicinity, above what was in place, prior to the scheme being implemented.

 

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