Willie Walsh, Acting Director of Services Louth County Council, Michael Gaynor, Dundalk Chamber, Cllr Kevin Meenan, Adrian O’Sullivan, Road Safety Officer.
Parents in Louth are being encouraged to drop their kids off close to school so they can walk the rest of the way as part of the local authority's Park 'n' Stride initiative.
Louth County Council has partnered with Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and An Garda Síochána to encourage parents and students in Co. Louth to rethink their daily commute as part of this year’s European Mobility Week.
The theme for this year is ‘Better Connections’, which aims to raise awareness about sustainable travel and promoting behavioural change in favour of active mobility.
As a result, Louth County Council are promoting the Park ‘n’ Stride Initiative, which encourages pupils travelling in cars to be dropped off at a designated car park close to their destination and complete the remainder of the journey on foot.
Children travelling to school by car represent a major contribution to congestion, a Louth County Council spokesperson said.
By making it feel riskier for other children to walk or cycle, their parents take them by car too, creating a vicious cycle.
Walking or cycling together with options such as Park ‘n’ Stride, carpooling and public transport are all excellent ways of incorporating low carbon transport and exercise into our daily commutes allowing us to enjoy cleaner air and lower noise levels, the spokesperson said.
Willie Walsh, Acting Director of Services with Louth County Council, said: “Park ‘n’ Stride is a fantastic initiative which provides alternative options for those who cannot change their travel patterns entirely but who want to avoid the traffic bottlenecks in the vicinity of the school gate.”
Cllr Kevin Meenan, Cathaoirleach of Dundalk Municipal District, said: “Walking to school is great for children, as research shows that schemes such as Park 'n' Stride provide parents with some valued time with their children, giving them an opportunity to have some fun, while walking to and from school. Importantly, it also helps to build up their road safety skills."
The initiative has also been welcomed by Michael Gaynor from Dundalk Chamber of Commerce who said: “Dundalk is an excellent place to have a snack, meet friends and of course shop.
"The Chamber encourages all parents to apply for the scheme and for all retailers to let their customers know.
"The flexibility of the afternoon times allows for shopping either before or after the school closes and should reduce traffic congestion at school closing times.”
Adrian O’Sullivan, Road Safety Officer with Louth County Council explained how to register, saying: “Participating in Park ‘n Stride is easy.
"Parents or guardians of pupils attending any Dundalk school can fill out the online registration form at Louthcoco.ie/ParknStride or alternatively email email@example.com to request a registration form.
"You will then receive a Park ‘n’ Stride sticker to display inside the front windshield of your car which can be used at any of the participating locations”.
The car parks currently in the scheme are: McEntee Avenue Cark Park, Rogers Car Park (Rampart Road), Dundalk Library, Rampart Road Long Term Car Park, Meadow Grove Car Park, Aura Leisure, St Joseph’s Redemptorist Car Park, Linenhall Street Car Park, The Longwalk Long Stay Car Park, Clanbrassil Centre Car Park, Longwalk Shopping Centre, Tesco Extra Car Park and Lidl Car Parks (Avenue Road and St Helena’s Terrace stores).
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