Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor
Carlow's Senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has written to Carlow County Council to urge them to introduce the "school streets initiative".
The initiative seeks to impose, on a trial basis, a car-free pedestrian and cycling zone outside schools, therefore creating a safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly space outside the school.
Senator Murnane O’Connor said: "Every day, thousands of cars across Carlow line up outside schools with their engines running as parents drop-off their children or wait for their children to come out of school.
"For the most part this is wholly unnecessary. Many children live within walking or cycling distance to their school but because of traffic safety concerns they are usually brought by car.
"Research shows that air pollution levels outside schools are 30% higher and each year there are in the region of 1,700 new cases of childhood asthma because of poor air quality."
She added: "We know that this is due, in part, to the large amount of time our children spend near car exhausts.
"I understand and accept that this is not possible for all school children, but the initiative could also provide a ‘Park & Stride’ facility within a 15-minute walk. Cleaner air and more exercise to and from the school run will only be of benefit to kids.
"These ingrained changes are hard to make but with a bit of bravery from the Council and support for a pilot scheme, it would mark a real improvement in the lives of school children."