Fears for safety of children despite traffic lights being put in place. PHOTO: Siobhan McNamara
There are fears that it is only a matter of time until a child is killed or seriously injured crossing the road at traffic lights at two Donegal schools.
Councillors are reporting that motorists are repeatedly breaking red lights at the pedestrian crossing at both buildings of Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala. The two buildings form part of the same school and are on Upper Main Street, Donegal Town.
Excessive speed is also an issue in this part of the town.
The combination of ignoring the red light and breaking the speed limit is leading to grave concerns for the safety of primary school children.
Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District (MD) of Donegal Cllr Micheál Naughton raised the matter at the September MD meeting.
He said he had been contacted by the school principal who told him that a girl was nearly knocked down while going to school last Thursday morning.
“A lot of parents are very concerned about it,” said Cllr Naughton.
Area Roads Officer Mark Sweeney said that he too had been contacted by the school.
“The principal rang me at the start of the week and informed me that there was another close call,” he said.
The lights were installed some years ago when it was highlighted that a safe crossing was needed for school children due to the ever increasing traffic on the road.
A number of traffic surveys carried out since the lights were put in place have shown that some motorists appear not to even be aware of the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings at the two schools.
“We cannot understand why people aren’t seeing the lights,” said Mr Sweeney.
“ No matter what side you approach the lights from you can see them clearly.
“But people are still breaking the lights, mainly coming out from town.”
Mr Sweeney told councillors that his department had put up additional warning signs to try and draw further attention to the lights.
He added that resurfacing work would be taking place over the Halloween break and that road markings could be added that might help.
Cllr Naughton welcomed news of additional road markings.
But he asked: “If you can’t see a red light in front of you, are you going to see a road marking?”
Cllr Tom Conaghan (Ind) lives just yards from the crossing in question and has long been voicing his concerns about the lights and the dangers of that stretch of road. He also expressed concern about people parking against the flow at school drop off times.
But it is the speeding problem that he is most concerned about.
“I can guarantee that they are doing nothing less than 80mph to 100mph from the church to the hospital at times,” he said. “It is unbelievable. You have a church and two schools there.
“I saw a lady crossing the road and a car didn’t even slow down, it swerved on to the footpath.
“Now that the schools are open, something will have to be done. If it keeps going the way it is going, I would say ramps are the only answer.”
Cllr Conaghan said the problem was even worse at night.
“And it is not all young people either,” he added.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.