Drivers slammed for abusing parents as they enforce Edinburgh school traffic restrictions

Cones kicked over and abuse yelled at mothers in Sciennes Road
Caroline McKellar with Jamie, left, and Michael and Teresa Thomson with Isabel on patrolCaroline McKellar with Jamie, left, and Michael and Teresa Thomson with Isabel on patrol
Caroline McKellar with Jamie, left, and Michael and Teresa Thomson with Isabel on patrol

PROTECTIVE parents got so fed-up with drivers flouting a traffic ban around their kids’ school - they took to the streets to enforce it themselves.

The band of 15 mums and dads take turns to don high vis bibs and put out cones to block-off the road outside Sciennes Primary each morning and Friday afternoons.

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But mums have told how mean motorists have subjected them to torrents of abuse - while some have even got out and kicked away cones.

“We get aggro and shouted at - or they just drive over the cones,” said Teresa Thomson, 45, with seven-year-old daughter and Sciennes pupil Isabel. “I got told ‘this is effin ridiculous - I don’t have time for this.”

The 320-metre section of Sciennes Road, between Tantallon Place and Sylvan Place, is off-limits to drivers as kids make their way to and from school.

Parents are now calling for signs to be moved and better traffic calming measures to help enforce the ban, part of Edinburgh City Council’s School Streets scheme.

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Mum-of-three Caroline McKellar was laying out cones with sons Jamie, 11, Michael, eight, and seven-year-old John.

“There’s the hospital along here so ambulances and anyone leaving or coming with sick children is obviously fine - but other drivers get angry and ask why we’re doing it,” said Caroline, 44.

Son Michael added: “Some people just pull around the cones and won’t stop - they just make stuff up so they can come through.”

Brother Jamie added: “On a Friday, there’s always people coming through to pick up kids for the weekend. A child going to school could be run over.”

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Parents have suggested a narrowing of the road or a retractable barrier to help enforce the restrictions.

Families have also suggested the specially installed School Streets warning signs be moved to each end of Sciennes Road to prevent a bottleneck as drivers turn around.

Although School Streets is a city council-led scheme, the traffic restriction is enforced by police.

“We’ve had no accidents but there have been plenty of near misses involving cars and cyclists,” said Teresa.

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“People get really cross. Residents say it’s to make their lives easier but it’s not, it’s to make the school safer.”

Former volunteer Janine Ridley, 58, was walking 13-month-old labradoodle Coco at the junction of Tantallon Place and Sciennes Road.

“In the two-and-a-half years I did it, I lost count of the number of times I’d been called awful names in front of my children,” she said.

Constable Stewart Sinclair said officers monitor zones where resources allow. He added: “We would also appeal to parents, and anyone else picking up or dropping off children, to make sure they are aware of the regulations regarding entering these zones during the morning and afternoon periods as designated on the street signage.”

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