Local Green Party candidates Robin Harper and Alison Johnstone today set out plans to reduce traffic levels around schools and make walking routes for pupils safer in a bid to improve road safety and reduce pollution.
The Greensâ€™ outlined the plans on the first European Road Safety Day as they visited Edinburghâ€™s South Morningside Primary School which is plagued by rush hour traffic problems. (1)
The partyâ€™s proposals include giving communities more power to demand speed limits, traffic calming, home zones and safer routes to school.Â Greens will also ensure councils assess new development proposals for walkability, and plan to link all schools by networks of green cycling and walking routes by 2017.
Alison Johnstone, candidate for the Meadows & Morningside ward, said:
â€œMorningside Primary is a typical example of a school held prisonerÂ by increasing traffic levels. This situation is causing serious safety problems for children at schools across Scottish cities. Despite the efforts of teachers and parents, more must be done to keep our children safe on the walk to school.â€?
Robin Harper, Greensâ€™ co-leader and top MSP candidate in Lothians, said:
â€œMany parents end up doing the school run because they are understandably concerned about the level and speed of traffic and the lack of safe crossing points. Greens in Parliament and in local councils will deliver safe routes for children to walk or cycle to school. We are also committed to world class public transport so drivers have an affordable and convenient alternative to the car.
â€œThese changes will help improve the health of our children, reduce air and climate change pollution, and reduce the accident rate. I urge Scots to put the health and safety of our children first, and first vote Green on Thursday.â€?
Morningside Primary is Edinburgh’s largest primary school, located on a busy trunk road, the A702, one of the main roads south out of Edinburgh. The school’s three sites and its catchment area are divided by the main road. The school community has been working to improve road safety, in particular calling for a traffic light crossing and a crossing guide on the busy Craiglea Drive, and for the area to become a 20mph â€œvillageâ€?, but so far these requests have not been met. (2)
1. Greensâ€™ road safety and social exclusion policies include:
– Instead of the onus of road safety policy being placed on walkers and cyclists, we need to encourage safer driving.Â Crime on the roads is still treated too leniently, and the victims of driving offences should be treated the same way as victims of other crimes.
– Communities need more power to demand speed limits, traffic calming and prioritisation of road space. Local authorities should work with communities to develop comprehensive speed management plans for all of our cities, towns and villages.
– We will give local authorities effective powers against pavement parking and anti-social parking. Walking accounts for a quarter of all trips made in Scotland, and as many people walk to work as take the bus.
– Too many of Scotlandâ€™s pavements are in poor condition. Local authorities must properly fund upgrading footpaths and public space and be given stronger control over works by utility companies, with powers of enforcement.
– Local authorities will be required to assess new development proposals for walkability at the planning application stage.
– Communities will be encouraged to carry out Street Audits of key walking routes to schools, community facilities and public transport.Â Cycling is good for peopleâ€™s physical and mental well-being, saves money and the environment, yet cycling currently only merits 1% of the transport budget. We want cycling funding to quadruple by 2014 to at least %. – We will link all schools and public centres by networks of green cycling and walking routes by 2017, incorporating parks and nature- rich places, and will continue to support and develop home zones and safer routes to school. We will ensure that all school pupils have cycle training.
– We will help cyclists to link to public transport by ensuring secure storage facilities.
– We will ensure environments where walkers and cyclists feel safe, including a high-visibility strategy to promote the safety of vulnerable groups.