IT looks like a traffic jam from hell – but for hundreds of youngsters arriving at one of the Capital’s largest primaries, it’s as familiar as the school bell.
Lazy drivers dropping off children at Bruntsfield Primary are endangering the lives of pupils and clogging up roads, say fed-up mums and dads, who are backing an East Lothian-style “exclusion zone” during school run hours.
They say motorists are prone to reversing over children’s pedestrian crossings and have been seen moving vehicles away from the school entrance without looking to see where they are going or whether there are pupils nearby.
Mum Sara Dorman, 43, who has a daughter in P3 at Bruntsfield and snapped the scene on Monday, said: “That situation is nothing unusual – it’s like that most mornings. It’s a small number of parents who insist on dropping their kids off right in front of the school gate and making it dangerous for all the rest. A ban on cars at certain times is certainly one option that would resolve lots of the issues.”
The call comes after council bosses in East Lothian banned vehicles from three roads leading to primaries in Haddington as part of a crackdown at King’s Meadow Primary, Haddington Infant School and St Mary’s RC Primary.
City leaders are looking at a similar move in the Capital and will report back on possible pilot sites later this year. But worried Bruntsfield parents are demanding urgent action.
Ms Dorman said: “The first year my daughter was at school a large van had dropped off and then decided to reverse back over the crossing the children use to get to school. He had absolutely no sight lines – it could have been very serious. Everyone is short of time in the morning but it’s not worth the seconds you save to endanger someone else’s child.”
Leaders at the school’s parent council said they would reserve judgement on the idea until formal consultation processes had taken place.
Chairman Antonis Giannopoulos said: “I don’t think it’s a bad idea but we have to look at all the implications – some parents live very far away and can’t just walk to school.”
Transport chiefs said moves to introduce vehicle restrictions were ongoing and that they were committed to providing safe and pleasant environments for those wanting to walk or cycle to school.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport leader, said: “Though we are still at the early stages of the initiative we have consulted East Lothian Council and Dundee Council, who have developed similar approaches to restrict vehicles at schools, and if initial projects are successful the scheme could be extended more widely.”
CAR BAN PILOT PROVES SUCCESSFUL
EAST Lothian Council made national headlines when it banned cars from roads leading to three primary schools in Haddington earlier this year.
And the 18-month pilot – which could be extended if it proves successful – has proved a hit with many parents, who say they are relieved not to see local roads packed “wall to wall” with cars doing three-point turns. Michelle Wall, 30, whose son Matthew, five, goes to Haddington Infant School, said: “Maybe it is bit inconvenient for some parents but it’s absolutely necessary.”