The 3PR School Parking Initiative

The aim of the School Parking Initiative is to engage with the school, the children, the parents and the local residents to promote a good working relationship and understanding of the needs of everyone. This will be achieved through:

  • engagement with the pupils providing education, learning activities and reward schemes for good parking practices (children are the next generation of drivers)
  • distribution of educational material to parents and residents on considerate parking and the impact of inconsiderate parking on the local area
  • a commitment from the parents via the school charter to embrace the School Parking Initiative
  • an understanding of residents that cars will need to be accommodated on the highway at peak school times and that provided the cars park sensibly, this should be encouraged
  • an understanding from the parents that inconsiderate parking is discouraged and not supported by the school.
  • alternative travel to school schemes

The issue of parent school parking presents many challenges to the local authorities and there is no “one size fits all” solution. Historically, the implementation of parking restrictions does not offer an effective solution unless a high level of regular parking enforcement can be carried out. The School Parking Initiative is a new approach which is aimed more at changing behaviours around school parking through education. Although this initiative will not instantly solve all the problems associated with school parking, we are confident that over time, the percentage of parents that adopt a considerate approach to parking in, and around, schools will increase.

Why introduce it?

The Problem

Car ownership and car usage has significantly increased over the years, and more and more parents are relying on using a car to take their children to school.

There are many reasons for this, such as:

  • travelling directly to work after the school drop-off
  • children attending different schools
  • living outside of a catchment area

Our Aim

The Local Authority Partners of the School Parking Initiative recognise the need for car usage and, through this initiative, aims to encourage safe, careful and considerate parking during the periods of the day when parents are dropping off and collecting their children from the school. In addition, this initiative will also promote and actively encourage healthy lifestyles and alternative modes of transport to school.

The Parking Partnership is under increasing pressure from residents to implement some form of parking restriction in their roads to ease the number of vehicles attending the area during peak school times. The challenge for the Partnership is to

  • strike the balance between the parents who need to bring their children to school in a car
  • the safety of the children who are walking or cycling to the school
  • the local residents who feel affected by inconsiderate parking on a daily basis.

Why not implement parking restrictions?

The implementation of parking restrictions is not an effective solution and will tend to do no more than displace the problem to another area. In addition, the local authority does not have the resources available to effectively enforce parking restrictions outside of schools on a regular basis, the problem being that the parking issues take place at the same time, across all schools.

The level of staff and cost involved to effectively patrol all school areas is not financially sustainable. Therefore, it is important to explore and consider alternative methods of encouraging considerate parking outside of schools. We feel the School Parking Initiative is a step in the right direction.

The South Essex Parking Partnership has a Document setting out how the SEPP will deal with requests for parking restrictions requiring a Traffic Regulation Order. This document can be found at the following link: Parking restriction policy

A high percentage of parking restrictions that have been historically introduced around school areas are only operational at the times that children need to be dropped off or picked up from the schools; in effect they have been introduced to prevent parents from parking in the road. This does raise a question: If it is possible for cars to park on the same parts of the road outside of the operational hours of the parking restriction and the parking activities do not breach the Essex County Council safety and congestion criteria, then should the parents be prevented from utilising this available space?

In this instance, the parking is referred to as preferred parking. For example, it’s ok for a friend, visitor or a relative to park in the location but it becomes a problem if the car belongs to a parent attending the school. The local authority has a responsibility to make the public highway available to all road users.

What is 'Short Term Invasive Parking'?

School parking is considered as short term invasive parking and the policy on this type of parking is as follows:

7.5 Short term invasive parking (outside schools, organisations, etc.)
7.5.1 Short term invasive parking is parking for the purpose of dropping off and picking up passengers or goods at a known organisation such as a school, convenience store etc. and will only be for short periods of time.
7.5.2 If this type of parking restriction request does not meet ECC’s safety or congestion criteria, it is highly unlikely that the SEPP will propose the introduction of parking restrictions. This is classed overall as very low priority.
7.5.3 The enforcement of any restriction that is introduced to tackle a short term parking issue requires a concentrated enforcement presence and is therefore not practical and cost effective.