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St Mary’s RC Primary pupils get creative to encourage responsible parking in Leith

Posted: 23rd August 2023

Primary school pupils in Leith have helped create colourful solutions to parking issues in the area, which they unveiled today (Tuesday 22 August).

St Mary’s (Leith) RC Primary School P5 class shared a series of posters they’ve created to discourage people from parking in an area blocking communal bins on Links Gardens. Links Gardens is a ‘School Street’ where traffic is restricted at the beginning and end of the day to help people walk, wheel and cycle to school safely.

They also helped celebrate the completion of a vibrant public artwork on the street, installed as part of Leith Connections, a project making changes across the area to support safe and easy walking, wheeling and cycling. The colourful on-street painting is one of three installations designed in collaboration with the community, local school children and Scottish art firms Bigg Design and Fun Makes Good.

Similar artworks have popped up at Leith Primary School on St Andrew Place (another School Street) and John’s Place, where a new public space has been created for people to relax and play. Designs across the three sites have been inspired by Leith’s heritage and natural attributes and feature local wildlife, references to the area’s shipbuilding history and Leith’s ‘Persevere’ motto, amongst other elements.

The project is being funded through Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure programme funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

“We really want to bring the local community along with us to enjoy and interact with the changes introduced through Leith Connections, so it’s great to be able to involve the youngest generation to help brighten up the area.

As well as contributing to these fantastic artworks, St Mary’s (Leith) RC pupils have also been thinking about the impact of irresponsible parking in their School Street. I’m sure their striking posters will have a real impact on all road users.

By creating safer, more welcoming spaces to walk, wheel and cycle in Leith, as well as for spending time with friends or visiting local businesses, we want to benefit everyone who lives in and visits Leith.”

Simon Strain, Head of Programme, Sustrans said:

“Making it easier and safer for children to travel independently to and from school is of the utmost importance. The simple crossing improvements and road layout changes delivered as part of Leith Connections not only deliver more accessible everyday journeys but also provide new creative spaces for children and adults to enjoy.

It’s great to see the creativity and talent of these local pupils now on show. We’d like to thank the school and the wider Leith community for their support in making this project a success.”

Primary 5 pupil Leon added: 

“We as a class made lots of different designs for the pavements and posters. We had this piece of paper and we were drawing our designs and seeing which ones were the best.

The road paintings are really cool, I think it’s really nice that we made them.”

Changes implemented as part of Leith Connections include improved pedestrian crossings, pavement decluttering and planting and seating in newly created pedestrian spaces.

This is alongside new traffic layouts in several streets to prioritise people travelling by foot, wheel or bike. Under the scheme Sandport Place Bridge has been closed to motor traffic, bus gates introduced at the Shore and Links Place and measures added to prevent through traffic in some areas. All residential and business properties are still accessible by motor vehicle, while blue badge parking will be unaffected.

Leith Connections designs draw from two years of engagement with the community and local stakeholders, encompassing online co-design workshops, public drop-in sessions and focused meetings. Some of the measures, around Leith Links, will be implemented on a trial basis under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).

Find out more about Leith Connections online.

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