Dad wants car ban for kids’ safety

FOR the first time, cars will be banned from a city street while children play due to the application of a new scheme.

Thomas Lynch and son Lewis on Parkgrove Terrace, which could soon be a safe zone for children to play in at certain times of the day. Picture: Lesley Martin

Dad Thomas Lynch is holding talks with neighbours about agreeing to close down Parkgrove Terrace, Clermiston, for two hours.

The move comes after residents were given the power to apply for a temporary traffic regulation order (TRO).

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It means vehicles will be diverted for a set amount of time so children can play in safety.

Mr Lynch, 40, said the plan was to have the ban in place “before the weather really turns”, and hopefully over the next couple of months.

He said the application was necessary because his street had turned into a “rat run” for motorists looking to reach nearby Queensferry Road.

Mr Lynch, co-founder of childcare group Dads Rock and father to six-year-old Lewis, said: “It’s just a way of allowing the kids to take their bikes and other toys outside without having to think about cars.

“We’ve seen the tragic results of people driving too fast – we’ve seen the impact of that and we know from research that kids don’t roam as freely as they used to.”

A new “toolkit” of advice and contacts is being prepared for other residents interested in seeking a car ban.

City chiefs are keen to promote the idea as “community-led” and stressed their role would be to “facilitate” rather than impose TROs.

It is understood they have received around four other inquiries specifically about applying for a restriction order, although this is expected to increase as the scheme receives more publicity.

While through traffic would be banned under one of the new TROs, vehicles belonging to street residents will be exempt. The scheme, which has already been introduced in Glasgow, has sparked ­enthusiasm among parents and children as it allows them to enjoy activities such as climbing trees or learning to cycle – but with the added bonus of extra safety.

It has proved successful in other UK cities, including Bath, London and Bristol and was trialled in the Capital several years ago.

“In doing this, we are ­giving kids the ability to go outside without us watching them all the time,” said Mr Lynch.

He added: “Certainly, at the moment, I’m just proposing to do it once to see how it goes but if it’s ­successful, I think potentially that we could do it once a month at least.” Councillor Keith Robson, the Capital’s play champion, said there had been several expressions of interest from residents who are keen to make children’s play times safer.

He said: “Any requests for temporary road closures must come from local communities and will need to have the support of the majority of residents.

“The closure would be short term for through traffic but would still allow residents access in and out of the street. If that community support exists then we will be able to work with residents to remove some of the barriers to children playing out.”