Parents and children who arrive at school by car are being encouraged to “park and stride” instead in a scheme to be introduced at King James School in Knaresborough.
From Monday, 4 February, parents and carers will be able to park at York Place car park and complete the final five minutes of the journey to school on foot.
The scheme is part of North Yorkshire County Council’s Open Harrogate project to increase sustainable travel and has been set up with support from Harrogate Borough Council, which manages the car park.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Park and stride schemes are designed to discourage school gate parking when dropping off and picking up children and to encourage a short walk to and from school. This helps to reduce congestion around schools and brings health benefits for all involved through improved air quality and daily exercise.
“King James School offers an ideal opportunity as York Place car park is just a short walk from the school, so we are delighted to be able to offer this scheme with the support of the school and the borough council. I urge parents and carers to take advantage of it.”
Parents and carers can apply for a park and stride parking permit that will allow them to park free in the car park for up to 20 minutes at school dropping off and picking up times.
Councillor Phil Ireland, cabinet member for sustainable transport at Harrogate Borough Council and Knaresborough Town Mayor, added: “Walking is not only great for your health and wellbeing, but also helps alleviate some of the congestion around schools. The car park, that is currently being improved, is only a short walk away so I do hope lots of people take full advantage of this incentive.”
Justin Waters, Director of Business Services for King James School, said: “We are pleased to support the park and stride scheme as a measure to reduce the number of vehicles outside school at key times and improve student welfare. We believe the benefits of the scheme will not only improve student safety but enhance learning by incorporating more exercise into the day.”
To support the launch of the scheme, county council sustainable travel officers will be at the car park and the school on 4 February to offer information and advice.
Open Harrogate is part of the three-year Open North Yorkshire programme, which has received £1m in government funding and which works with schools, businesses and residents to encourage people to swap their cars for healthier, less congesting modes of transport. The programme focuses on three urban areas, around Harrogate, Scarborough and Skipton, chosen because they offer the greatest potential for shifting to sustainable transport based on their population, the levels of economic and residential development and the levels of congestion.
Cllr Mackenzie said: “Open North Yorkshire is part of the county council’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, particularly to support economic growth. It sets out to increase cycling and walking and thereby reduce congestion in these three growing towns.”