KIDS’ safety must ‘finally be put first’ amid growing calls from councillors and MPs for action to be taken against parents’ dangerous parking at schools’ drop-off and pick-up times before another injury - or worse - occurs.
Coun Jake Lodge, who represents the Worsbrough ward, says pavement parking - which has impacted schools across the borough - is a ‘significant concern’ for residents and makes it difficult for pedestrians, especially those with mobility, sight or hearing impairments.
He brought up the matter at yesterday’s full council meeting and urged highways bosses and the police to band together to create a targeted awareness campaign to crack down on the issue, after receiving complaints from residents.
Schools across the borough - including St John’s in Royston, Oakhill Primary in Ardsley, Bank End in Worsbrough and Trinity St Edward’s in the town centre - have all experienced term-time difficulties at drop-off and pick-up times.
“I can only imagine those local issues are replicated right across the borough,” he said.
“It’s a problem because of the number of cars that are on the road, and given that public transport in South Yorkshire is in the state it is I can understand why there’s a lot of cars on the road.”
Although walk-to-school initiatives have been a success - as have education leaders’ attempts to boost the amount of kids using bicycles to get to and from classrooms - matters are now at a tipping point, according to fed-up councillors and residents.
Barnsley Council committed to a scheme to assess all schools sited on main roads in the borough to see if 20mph zones could be introduced to slow down traffic.
Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, confirmed complaints about parents’ parking had been received since kids returned to schools in September.
“We enforce parking restrictions in our borough to improve road safety, keep traffic flowing freely and help make sure our roads and footpaths are safe for everyone to use,” he added.
“Following reports, we recently stepped up our traffic enforcement presence to make sure people were parking safely.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and take action against anyone who parks on yellow lines or alongside a dropped kerb.”
South Yorkshire Police warned officers are aware of the worries and have the power to fine motorists who choose to flout parking regulations, while MPs - including Wentworth and Dearne’s John Healey - have also appealed for common sense to prevail.
A police spokesperson said: “We would like to remind people to park considerably when dropping off and picking up children from school.
“If you park on the zig-zag lines or at the school gates, you are putting children at risk.
“You could also be committing an offence and receive a £30 fine.”