How teachers are tackling parents whose parking can be a danger ...
Dangerous parking around schools in Kirkcaldy is a continuous problem which can be alleviated but will never be solved.
This appeared to be the consensus among head teachers, crossing patrol officers and parents at various schools contacted by the Press this week in light of Fair Isle Primary’s decision to ban parents from its car park because of the danger to children.
Every school contacted by the Press agreed that parking was a problem which was unlikely to be solved, but all said they were doing everything possible to educate parents and pupils on the dangers of parking close to school gates, on double yellow lines and too close to street corners where children were crossing.
Schools have been pro-active in attempting to deal with the problem, including putting up signs, putting cones on street corners, involving pupils in speaking to drivers and putting up banners around the school buildings.
And while they agree they do work for a while, drivers’ bad habits tend to sneak back in over time, with the issue constantly having to be addressed.
Rae Walker, head teacher, said that since the ban on parents’ cars in the school car park was introduced last Wednesday the school had been congratulated by the majority of parents on the move, with only a few speaking out against it.
“The majority of parents and carers have told me and the Parent Council it was the right thing to do to prevent a child from being seriously injured from selfish drivers who, despite continuous warnings, still parked their vehicles on double yellow lines within the car park where children were coming in on foot and on bikes and scooters.
“We will continue this until the end of term and review it with parents and the Parent Council for the start of next term.
“It is not something we wanted to do. It was forced.”
Lindsay Henderson, principal teacher, said the school often experienced parents parking on the zig zag lines on the main road outside the school.
“When this happens we will speak to them and in the past we have phoned the police who came up and had a word and it calms down for a while then it will start up again.
“You will always get drivers chancing their arm and just being inconsiderate, but we do our best to prevent it happening.”
Ann Hatch, head teacher,says the school is constantly dealing with parking issues.
“We don’t have any car park here so staff are in the same boat as parents here. I am out regularly in my high visibility vest talking to parents who are parking dangerously and I have had some unsavoury comments, but I just stress it is for the children’s safety and that is our priority here.
“We did a big campaign last year and we dressed a dummy up in our uniform and put it out on the zig zag lines to get our point across to drivers about parking, and our parent link group is also very active in this by getting the councillors and the police involved.”
At Kirkcaldy West Primary which is surrounded on all sides by residential streets, parking is a thorny issue.
Vehicles parked outside the front, back and side gates is an ongoing issue, with the school’s janitor/crossing officer, John Park, saying he had almost been knocked down in December.
“I am always going up to drivers and telling them they are putting the children in danger with their dangerous parking, and while most listen, there are still some who continue to drop their children off right outside the gates where children are crossing – it’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Parents said that cars parked too close to street corners were making it dangerous for youngsters to see oncoming vehicles, while others were blocking driveways to residents’ homes.
“The police or traffic wardens come and move them on, then the next day they are back again,” said one childminder.
“Trying to get children across the busy road when big cars and vans are parked right on the corner is a nightmare because you can’t see past them.”
Angela Welsh, head teacher,said she had sent out a reminder to parents about the issue recently stating: “The council and the police have had several complaints about irresponsible driving and parking in the streets around the school. Please remember that the area around the school is a designated 20mph zone. This is for the safety of your children. Please park your car responsibly, even if it means a short walk to the school gate to collect your child. There should be no parking on the corner of Barry Road or Barnton Road.
“On another matter the school car park is solely for the use of staff members. Parents must not park or drop children off in the school car park. At no time should there ever be parents or children walking through the car park. Please help us keep every child at Capshard safe.”
And the crossing patrol officer, who has been there for nine years said the problem came in spells.
“A letter will go out to parents and it will ease off then you will get a rainy spell and they will be back to stopping on the zig zag lines to drop the kids off again,” he said.
“There is a lot of congestion at picking up time and buses often have difficulty getting past.”
Carol Keddie, head teacher, said parking problems had been ongoing for all the 17 years she had been in charge.
“We don’t allow parents into our car park because it simply is not big enough,” she said.
“We have done a lot of work with Sustrans and Bikeability recently and the situation has improved, but there are still issues because there are too many cars around the school causing congestion. It’s an ongoing thing and it won’t go away.
“Over the past two years we have made changes to the road and put in bollards so people can’t park in dangerous places, which has helped.”
P6 pupil Finley King (10), said: “It used to be bad but it is a bit better now with the signs, and people don’t park when the police are there.”
Erin O’Connor (10), added: “Some people park in front of the school if they are in a rush, but they shouldn’t.”
PARKING PROBLEMS ...
The Press did a spot check around local schools this week to see the extent of the problems.
And we quickly found exmaples of parking which ranged from the inconsiderate to the downright dangerous.
Parents openly stopped on the zig-zag lines which are meant to be kept clear, or abandoned cars on corners, forcing other traffic to swing wide into the road.
Imagine if it was YOUR child who was hit as a result of someone parking like this ...