Three Fife schools to trial temporary traffic bans on surrounding roads

A pilot scheme which will see temporary traffic bans introduced around three Fife schools – including Denend Primary in Cardenden – are to introduced.

By Fiona Dobie
Monday, 8th November 2021, 4:30 pm
The School Streets initiative has already been introduced in other local authority areas, including Edinburgh. Pic: Julie Bull.

The School Streets initiative, which would see a ban on vehicles on certain roads around schools at drop-off and pick-up times, will be introduced at three schools in a bid to improve road safety for the school community.

Denend Primary will be one of the schools to trial the scheme after parents raised concerns with the local area committee that a child will be hurt if measures are not taken.

The other two schools to pilot the initiative are still to be chosen after members of Fife Council’s policy and coordination committee agreed to the Denend trial during 2022/23.

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School Streets is not a new initiative and has already been introduced by other local authorities including Edinburgh and Perth and Kinross.

School Streets zones aim to prevent non-residential traffic from using the road outside the school gate, or in surrounding streets, at set times of the day – usually at schools start and end times.

Residents are exempt by means of a permit system, as are Blue Badge holders and emergency service vehicles. Electronic signage identifies the zones during the closure periods.

Martin Kingham, service manager for roads network management, told councillors the number of accidents outside Fife schools is low.

He said: “We currently have a very low track record of casulaties near to schools, I think we’re looking in the area of between zero and three per annum on average.

"This year there have been two and they weren't close to school gates.”

The implementation of a school traffic ban is not expected to impact on road casualty statistics, however it is expected people will feel safer and traffic congestion outside of schools will be less.

Council officers initially proposed one trial scheme in Fife starting in the next financial year, however members at last week’s meeting voted in favour of three pilots – including one at Denend starting sooner.

The decision to include Denend Primary comes after councillors on the Cowdenbeath area committee backed a petition brought to them by the parent council last month.

Councillor Linda Erskine, convenor of the area committee, said: “I have stood outside Denend school on a number of mornings and afternoons to see the issue for myself and it’s widely reported with the parent council.

"The parent council put the petition forward themselves really out of frustration because there was going to be a fatality.

“We have had a number of near misses and I’m certainly not prepared to wait until we have something serious happening at the school.

"All the councillors were fully supportive of the proposal to introduce this as soon as possible and I don’t mean at the next financial year. I mean as soon as possible.

"If we say it’s okay to wait and something happens to a child it would be unforgivable quite frankly.”

The decision was taken at last week’s meeting for the process to launch the Denend pilot to get underway, and for officers to identify two more sites suitable for the trial, meeting suitability criteria including congestion levels, alternative safe drop-off areas, presence of through traffic and support from residents and the school community.

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