The Council today launched it’s Active School Travel initiative, aimed at encouraging increased walking and cycling, in the upcoming back to school period. All schools across Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown are currently preparing to return to the classroom, in line with the Department of Education & Skills ‘Reopening Our Schools – The Roadmap for the Full Return to School’, published on Monday 27th July 2020.
This will mean supporting and promoting various alternative means for children to get to school in a safe and active way, in particular, walking and cycling. This will reduce the impact on the public transport system of school reopening, avoid traffic congestion at school gates and encourage a continued shift away from the use of the private car. This initiative is also aligned to the Council’s wider climate action agenda.
In launching it’s Active School Travel initiative, the Council recognises that families have been keeping active during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wish to continue walking and cycling. To support schools, parents and children in planning to return to school, the Council is developing tools and projects in this area.
In the next week, the Council will launch an interactive web map, showing walking and cycling routes across the County, and other sustainable transport routes. This tool can be used to inform back to school Travel Plans and help inform local choices, in walking and cycling to school.
The Council is also exploring a range of walking and cycling infrastructure projects, to be developed and carried out in partnership with other stakeholders, including the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport, The National Transport Authority (NTA) and the An Taisce – Green Schools Travel programme.
We will continue to support schools in the delivery of safer travel and transport options; the provision of cycle parking, the alleviation of local traffic hazards and the creation of safe and quiet streets.
Local schools are being now invited by the Council to identify local travel and transport issues, where the Council can provide assistance and support in overcoming. These issues and hazards include the need for cycle parking, deteriorated footpaths, traffic pinch points, pedestrian crossing etc. Schools should raise these issues by using the Council’s ‘Report It’ tool, available on our website at: https://www.dlrcoco.ie/en/report. Submissions from schools should reference this Active School Travel initiative.
Speaking of the launch An Cathaoirleach, Cllr Una Power said: ‘During the COVID-19 pandemic, families have been out and about more, and availing of a range of local amenities, in particular walking and cycling. In launching this initiative, the Council wishes to support families and citizens in their decisions to keep active, healthy and prioritise safe travel options. This is particularly relevant in planning for the upcoming back to school period. I invite all schools, families and children to participate in this Active School Travel initiative, as it develops over the coming weeks and months’.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Director of Infrastructure & Climate Change, Robert Burns said: ‘In developing the Active School Travel initiative, we are asking all schools to demonstrate continued leadership, in the promotion and uptake of safer walking and cycling measures, as part of their wider plans to re-open schools. In return, the Council will continue to support schools and teachers by launching the interactive web map and facilitating local and on-site facilities, such as cycle parking and local traffic interventions. The Council is currently analysing the existing cycling and walking network across the County, with the aim of identifying a range of infrastructure projects that can be carried forward, to further enhance and integrate the existing walking and cycling network’.
Principal of Carysfort National School in Blackrock, Norma Linehan said: ‘As the new school year is fast approaching, the concerns of additional traffic on the roads and the associated dangers close to school entrances returns also. As a school principal I see ‘back to school’ this year, as the perfect opportunity for parents to continue the walking, cycling and scooting exercise that became an integral part of family life during the lockdown. We welcome the commitment of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to support schools and families, to embrace active and safe travel to school, by launching this initiative’.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is committed to the enhancement of its public spaces and the development of sustainable and active transport choices for the benefit of all.
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