Dalry Primary pupils celebrate arrival of safer streets

Pupils and representatives posing on a rainy street besides new street art outside Dalry Primary School

A new ‘school zone’ has launched at Dalry Primary School with a day of festivities to celebrate safer streets and improved air quality.

Pupils are now set to benefit from wider, people-friendly footpaths and reduced motor traffic at key drop-off and pick-up times along Springwell Place and Cathcart Place, either side of the school.

The scheme has been delivered thanks to a grant from Sustrans’ Temporary School Streets Fund.

Dalry Primary School has worked with the Council and Sustrans to collaboratively design the project, including new artwork by local artist Shona Hardie, featuring designs inspired by ideas created with pupils at workshops last year.

These are complemented by planters and seating to help deliver a more relaxed environment for pupils and local people.

Activities to celebrate the launch of the project started with a ‘walking bus’ from Tynecastle High School to help children and parents walk to school safely. They were joined by performers from Leith-based Think Circus, who captivated pupils with a number of interactive workshops throughout the day.

After school activities also included a ‘Dr Bike’ session, allowing children and parents to have their bikes checked and repaired for free, while The Bike Station’s ‘Wee Bike Library’ presented bikes of different sizes for kids to try out. Parents were also able to sign up for a free bike from the library.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

I firmly believe that no parent should have to worry about their child walking or cycling to school, and I’m delighted that this new initiative will help to create a safer environment during the busy pick-up and drop-off times in the school day.

These improvements at Dalry Primary are also designed to benefit the whole community. We’ve worked with a fantastic artist to create colourful street art and a more relaxed environment for everyone to spend time along Cathcart Place, Springwell Place and Dalry Road, and we hope local residents and visitors enjoy the fun designs and opportunities to rest as much as pupils.

We look forward to seeing the results of the changes and helping parents to more easily walk and cycle with their children every day. These results will also help us as we continue to explore ideas to help people to travel more safely around the wider local area.

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director, Sustrans said:

We are excited to launch the school zone at Dalry Primary in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council. In Scotland and across the UK, we have been working with stakeholders to transform the surrounding streets near schools. The result is a safer, happier and more pleasant environment for pupils, parents and the wider community.

Nearly 50 percent of pupils in Scotland either walk, wheel or cycle to school, according to our latest Hands Up Scotland Survey results. Innovative projects like the Dalry Primary school zone will help to empower more pupils and families to leave the car at home and enjoy an active commute.

Elaine Honeyman, Headteacher at Dalry Primary School, said:

It’s fantastic to see this scheme underway after lots of discussions with parents, residents and of course, our pupils. The safety measures are already proving popular with the children as they arrive at school. Pupils have told me that they are enjoying all the improvements to our school area, particularly the colourful street art and the playful aspect that this adds to the surrounding streets.

Among the enthusiastic pupils are two P6 Junior Road Safety Officers.

Umaima Rakha Parveen said:

I think the street art is an interesting way to distract the young people and will help them to stay away from the roadside and stay safe.

Attri Roy said:

The parents and children can use the seats to rest on when they arrive at school and many children will love to play on the seats.

The school zone outside Dalry Primary School reduces motor traffic on Cathcart Place and Springwell Place (where the school has its entrances) on school days between 8:15 and 9:15am, Mondays to Thursdays between 2:30 and 3:45pm and Fridays between 11:30 and 1pm.

Local access continues for residents of Cathcart Place and Springwell Place, emergency services and blue badge holders during these times.

Such projects offer a number of benefits for everyone, including increasing walking, cycling and active lifestyles for pupils, parents and carers, while also reducing the speed of traffic, congestion and pollution around school gates.

Published: June 17th 2024