Cork County’s second ‘School Zone’ has been officially launched at Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh in Rushbrooke, Cobh by Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, and Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Deirdre O Brien. The newly developed ‘School Zone’ includes colourful child friendly traffic calming measures which are designed to encourage pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to school.
To the front of Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh, widened footpaths and a narrowed carriageway have been created to slow traffic speeds on the approach to the school. Greater congregation space, including a new seating area, has been developed for children, parents and guardians to create a safer and more inviting space to the front of the school. Colourful art has been added to the footpaths and road space and pencil shaped bollards have been placed at the edge of the widened paths, creating a more exciting journey to school for those who choose to walk, cycle or scoot, while also preventing cars from parking on the widened footpaths.
In addition to the works to the front of school, and with the support of the Diocese of Cloyne, a new entrance and pathway has also been developed to the side of Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh to facilitate shorter and more direct journeys to the school from neighbouring residential areas.
Launching the ‘School Zone’ Minister Naughton commented, “The Safe Routes to School programme enables children to reimagine their daily journey to school, reigniting travel to school by means of walking, cycling or scooting. I am very pleased to be returning to Cork to launch the new ‘School Zone’ at Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh in Rushbrooke, which marks the second ‘School Zone’ completed in the Cork County in 2022. The delivery of this fantastic project has removed barriers to walking, cycling or scooting to school, enabling the daily journey to school in Rushbrooke to be fun, active and safe, making a real difference to the student population. Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this wonderful active travel project through to completion. It would not have happened without the support and dedication of the parents, teachers, pupils and entire school community in Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh, the wider community, the Diocese of Cloyne, Cork County Council and the Safe Routes to School team in the NationalTransport Authority and An Taisce”.
Deputy Mayor O’Brien welcomed the initiative and said,
Ten schools across County Cork have been successful in securing funding during the first round of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Programme. A further 50 primary and secondary schools across the county will benefit from subsequent rounds. The Safe Routes to School Programme is an initiative led by the National Transport Authority and Green Schools, with the works being delivered by Cork County Council.
Divisional Manager for South Cork at Cork County Council, Valerie O Sullivan, added,
Ellen Murphy, An Taisce Infrastructure Officer outlined that, “As the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Officer working with all the stakeholders on this scheme, I feel that we succeeded in keeping the children’s needs front and centre to deliver a life-changing School Zone for the children of Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh. The parents gave excellent feedback in the surveys and really guided the process so we could create a calmer, safer front of school environment, and improve the routes to the school. Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh have been an active Green-School for a long time, in fact they were one of the first schools in Cork to get their Green Flag way back in 2004! It has been a pleasure to work with the School Principal Sinead Flannery and Deputy Principal Alan Carney, and the team in Cork County Council and I hope every day is a WOW (Walk on Wednesday) from now on!”
The Safe Routes to School programme was launched in March 2021 by the Department of Transport with the support of the Department of Education and is administered by the National Transport Authority and An Taisce Green Schools. It aims to accelerate the delivery of walking / scooting and cycling infrastructure on key access routes to schools and to provide ‘front of school’ treatments to enhance access to school grounds. The first School Zone in Cork County was launched in Scoil Phádraig Naofa in Bandon in February 2022.