Fingal County Council is introducing School Streets, an initiative to improve the safety and well-being of pupils attending two primary schools in Malahide.
The initiative, which will be run on a pilot basis, will see a section of Grove Road outside St Oliver Plunkett’s Primary School transformed temporarily into a car-free, pedestrian and cycling zone from 18 November to create a safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly space outside the school.
This initiative is the first of its kind to be rolled out in Ireland by a local authority and was approved by the Howth-Malahide Area Committee at a meeting on 6 November.
The School Streets scheme is being implemented due to the current traffic challenges that are faced outside both St Oliver Plunkett’s and St Andrew’s Primary Schools, which are adjoined to Grove Road and Church Road respectively.
The challenges include school gate congestion, unsafe parking and blocking of footpaths, road safety risks due to vehicular movements, children being exposed to excess air pollution, and car-dependent children being less physically active.
The initiative will provide a pedestrianised zone on Grove Road where access for vehicles to this section will be restricted during drop off and collection times of the school. These times will be between 8:30-9:15 am and 1:00-2:45 pm, Monday to Friday during term time only.
Exemptions to School Streets will include Disabled Badge holders, if living within the zone, and residents with permits living on Grove Road between Church Road and The Rise. Teachers of St. Oliver Plunkett’s will arrive at the school before the 8:30 am start.
Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Eoghan O’Brien said: “The School Streets initiative is a bold plan. The current situation outside both St. Oliver Plunkett’s and St. Andrew’s schools is unsustainable, and this initiative is a hugely positive scheme with massive potential to benefit everyone in the community. If this pilot is successful, I can see other School Streets being established across Fingal in front of existing and new schools.
“I'm calling on all stakeholders - parents, children, residents and businesses to get behind this initiative. The current situation around our schools is completely unsustainable and we must adapt our behaviours to work towards a new, safe and sustainable way of doing things. I'm delighted that Malahide will lead the way with the first School Streets Initiative in Ireland. This approach has been proven to work extremely well in other countries and if everyone gets behind it, we can make this a success.”
David Storey, Director of Operations at Fingal County Council, added: “This initiative is being introduced to tackle the significant traffic safety issues surrounding St. Oliver Plunkett’s and St Andrew’s Primary Schools. Through consultation with the many stakeholders involved we believe this scheme will reduce the road traffic risks present outside the schools while providing a safer, cleaner, greener, and healthier environment for children and parents.”
Free Park & Stride facilities will be provided for parents and children of both schools at Bridge Field Car Park, Back Road Car Park and Seabanks Car Park which are all within a 10 to 15-minute walk of the schools. Parking permits will be issued to all parents of pupils at St Oliver Plunkett’s to facilitate parking in Malahide during drop-off and collection times.
Fingal County Council has gone through extensive public consultation with stakeholders and will continue to engage with them during the trial period to see if any adjustment or adaptation is needed over the school calendar. If this pilot scheme is successful, then the initiative will be extended to other schools in Fingal where it is suitable.
The School Street initiative will be enforced strictly by An Garda Síochána and Fingal County Council parking wardens with violations resulting in fines.
To facilitate the School Street, and following consultation with the community, the originally proposed 24/7 one-way system has been revised to a No Right turn/No Left turn from the Mall onto The Rise during the hours of operation of the School Street initiative in term time only.
School Streets will begin on 18 November and the initiative will be officially launched on 25 November.
For further information on this scheme please read the report attached here.