A ban on driving children to school?
Sir, – After eight years and as many plans later, Dublin City Council still has not constructed a measly five kilometre cycle lane along the Liffey quays in Dublin city centre. In fact, the latest information from Dublin City Council is that the now National Transport Authority-managed project would not be rolled out until 2022 at the earliest – 10 years after the idea was first proposed!
It is therefore very frustrating to read comments attributed to public officials Brendan O’Brien of Dublin City Council and Anne Graham, the chief executive of the National Transport Authority, at the Climate Brave event (“Dublin council official calls for ban on parents driving children to school”, News, February 18th). They extol the wise advice that parents should either be banned from driving their children to school or that parents should choose local schools to send their children to and that in turn would create a nicer environment for walking or cycling.
While there is no doubt a reality that school commutes by private car generates far too much traffic and pollution of all sorts, including our soaring CO2 emissions, these organisations are guilty of extraordinary inaction in attempts to reduce car dependency and in turn reduce pollution. National and local authorities have failed to provide safe active travel alternatives such as segregated safe cycle-lane networks, as well as a non-hostile walking environment across our towns and cities. That failure in turn leads to far too many parents driving their children to school, in many cases for very short journeys. It is also a reason why many commuters opt not to use bicycles or walk as alternatives to using their cars to get to work.
More people now use cargo-bikes to transport children on short local journeys, making it possible to transport multiple children by bicycle, but safe passage to schools is required for this to be a viable transport solution.
If national and local authorities create a safe environment to cycle and walk to schools, then more people will opt to switch out of their cars and will not have to be banned from anything. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Before introducing a ban on driving children to school, would Dublin City Council consider a ban on council officials and other public servants driving to work and parking for free? Or is this another case of “Do as I say not do as I do”? – Yours, etc,