School’s park and stride scheme could be an inspiration to others

This story was published 3 November 2021

More schools are being encouraged to consider introducing park and stride schemes for students as one successful scheme enters its third year.

School pupils walking to school

The King James’s School in Knaresborough launched its park and stride scheme in 2019 with the support of Harrogate Borough Council and ourselves, which helped the school to gauge demand for the scheme and find a location. It has recently entered its third academic year.

Park and stride schemes encourage parents who drive to school to park further from the school gates, with students walking the rest of the way. They provide a designated safe place for parents to park or drop off and collect students. Schemes improve road safety at the school gates, reduce traffic congestion near the school and improve air quality and the environment around the school.

As part of the King James’s School scheme, Harrogate Borough Council issues a permit to users so that they can park free in York Place car park at certain times, enabling parents to walk to school with their children.

Headteacher Carl Sugden said: “The generosity of Harrogate Borough Council in allowing free parking spaces at York Place car park is a great benefit. It helps further reduce congestion around our school grounds during drop-off and collection times and, as a result of the park and stride scheme, more pupils have the valuable opportunity to safely walk their last five minutes to school in the fresh air, promoting alertness in support of their learning and a healthy routine.”

Parents are backing the scheme. Alex says: “I find the permit very useful, as I usually leave the car parked and do a lap of the car park with my dog while I wait, so knowing I have the permit stops me worrying I will get a ticket. My son knows where I will be, as before it was always a gamble if I could park in the arranged pick-up area. I also feel the walk from school to the car park is safer for my son, as the road has the pelican crossing.” Kathryn adds: “Having the pass ensures I can safely drop and collect my daughter without impacting on residential roads and gives her a safe route into school via the crossing.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “There are many advantages to park and stride schemes like this one at King James’s School. Keeping motor vehicles well clear of school entrances keeps pupils safe, provides a bit of useful exercise, and improves air quality.

“Our Road Safety and Active Travel team would be happy to talk to any schools keen to investigate the possibility of introducing a park and stride scheme.”

Councillor Phil Ireland, cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “We have ambitious plans to reduce carbon emissions across the Harrogate district, and one way of doing this is to reduce car journeys where possible.

“Walking is not only great for your health and wellbeing, but also helps alleviate some of the congestion around schools.

“I hope lots of people take full advantage of this incentive and support our efforts in making the district greener for future generations.”

Any schools interested in learning more about park and stride schemes can contact us via the Open North Yorkshire website, or email opennorthyorkshire@northyorks.gov.uk