A new pilot scheme that is aimed at reducing traffic congestion at schools in Longford town is set to be up and running in the coming months.
The ‘Park 'n Stride’ initiative encourages schoolchildren to walk more and is one of the first of its kind to be launched in the country.
It also offers free parking for parents at designated carparks.
The scheme is driven by Longford Co Council and will kick off proper at the beginning of the new school term in September.
Last week’s municipal district meeting heard that not only is the initiative aimed at introducing more exercise into the schoolchildren’s daily lives, it should also reduce traffic congestion.
“This will go a long way to alleviating the congestion on the Dublin Road,” added Cllr Mae Sexton (Ind) making reference to the traffic during school drop off and pick up times at St Joseph’s National School.
“Now we will be in a position to direct people to park away from the school and then collect their children.”
Meanwhile, the initiative involves the participation of a number of schools in Longford town liaising with the local authority who is offering free parking in a number of designated public car parks for up to one hour.
In other words, parents can park at the nearest car park to their children’s school and walk with them the rest of the way.
Gaelscoil Longfoirt will be the first school in the town to participate.
“This will also help to reduce dangerous congestion at St Eimear’s National School,” said Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) before adding that it was surprising that a fatal accident had not already occurred there given the gravity of the traffic situation there.
Cllr Sexton then proposed that all schools in Longford town be invited to participate in the initiative.
“This should be introduced on the Dublin Road as soon as possible,” added Cllr John Browne (FG).
“It sounds like a great scheme to me and something that could work very well in Longford town.”
Members then agreed to keep the matter on the agenda for the next meeting.