PARENTS are appealing for safety measures to protect school-going children on a dangerous street in Stradbally.
Warning of a possible “tragic accident”, cllr Paschal McEvoy says he is constantly getting calls from parents worried about their children’s safety on the walk from Main Street to Church Avenue.
“It is a fairly dangerous part of the road, with a lot of lorries and buses. Small children have to walk along there, as the school bus has to stop on Main Street and can’t go down to the school, as there is no room to turn,” cllr McEvoy told the latest meeting of Graiguecullen-Portarlington Municipal District.
He asked the county council to continue the pedestrian railing on the footpath, from the turn onto Church Avenue down to the school entrance.
However, engineer Farhan Nasiem replied that railings would greatly reduce visibility for vehicles exiting the school and would narrow the existing footpath from 1.4m to 1.2m. It would cost about €30,000 to obtain and install the 92m of railings needed.
The engineer said railings would also be a danger to cyclists, as the road is very narrow and has to accommodate bicycles and other traffic. He quoted from a Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) document on pedestrian crossings, which states: “Guard rail should be used only where it is needed to prevent hazardous crossing, as it creates an uncomfortable environment for cyclists, who can get squeezed against it. Long lengths of guard rail provide little extra pedestrian benefit and should be avoided.”
Cllr McEvoy said he didn’t think the TII guidelines applied in the Stradbally situation, where small schoolchildren have to walk along a very busy street. He said: “Parents keep asking me if anything can be done. Is there any safety measure we can put in there?”
Area engineer John Ormond said railings are generally installed only at pedestrian crossings and the new TII guidelines are in favour of removing railings. He asked whether there was any history of accidents at the Stradbally location, where he said railings could create an obstruction, as the footpath is very narrow.
Cllr McEvoy replied: “Probably not, to be fair, but it is still dangerous. Prevention is better than cure because there could be a tragic accident there.”
Cllr Tom Mulhall suggested a pick-up and drop-off point in the hall car park, but cllr McEvoy said that solution might create more problems, as the car park is too small for buses and many parents park there.
Mr Ormond agreed to meet parents and cllr McEvoy to discuss what safety measures might be provided at the site.