Most kids have gone back to school this week and I’m sure lots of you will have noticed the roads and parking spots are busier around school start and end times again. For some of you this may be your first term of having a child at school and doing the school run so I thought I would use this week’s blog post as a refresher on parking near schools.
Most schools in north Essex have parking restrictions outside and these include ‘Keep Clear’ and yellow zig-zag markings which are sometimes extended with a single yellow line. These markings have no stopping signs next to them informing motorists of the restriction and the times it applies (the times are normally school start and end times e.g. 8.30am – 9.30 am and 2.30pm – 4pm). Cars seen parked on a yellow zig-zag during the restricted times shown on the sign will instantly be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (under Contravention Code 48). If only a single yellow line is present, a 5 minute grace period is normally given to motorists before a Penalty Charge Notice is issued, except where safety concerns outweigh this.
The NEPP takes its parking enforcement role outside schools extremely seriously. The parking restrictions put in place are not just there to keep the roads free from congestion but to also keep them safe for all road users. Safety outside schools is paramount as there are children crossing roads and getting in and out of vehicles, plus the number of vehicles parked and the fact that drivers are usually in a rush means there is a high risk of an accident. As we head into autumn and the darker mornings and afternoons are fast approaching, visibility is reduced and parking safely is vital.
Whilst trying to park as close to the school as possible, some drivers resort to parking on pavements, dropped kerbs or blocking residents drives which means residents are unable to return to/leave their homes and other road users such as pedestrians or wheelchair users are unable to use the highways safely, increasing the risk of an accident.
I do understand that people are often in a rush and want to drop off and collect their children as quickly as possible, but parking on these markings is unsafe and negligent (as well as illegal). Alternative parking is usually available only a few minutes away and helps keep the roads safe and free from congestion at what is, for most people, one of the most stressful times of day.
If you would like to find out about other school travel options, please visit Essex County Council’s website.