The PA feel it is an appropriate time to provide an update on the progress to date in our efforts to address the existing traffic arrangements and the safety issues that occur daily during the morning drop and afternoon collection times.
In mid November last year we became aware, through a parent, that her daughter was almost struck by a vehicle which drove through a red light while the girl was using the existing pedestrian crossing. Following this incident we sent an email to the Wicklow County Council Road Safety Officer relating the incident and regarding traffic safety in general for the area. In addition, a letter of concern was sent to Wicklow County Council District Engineer, Greystones Town Council, the local Gardaí and our local TD's.
Although there was a general level of support over the issue, the response from Wicklow County Council was to change the orientation of the traffic signal heads to make them more visible and remove some of the covers on these signal heads. Additionally they intended to apply for funding to build out the existing footpaths taking the cycle lanes off the road level and putting them at footpath level, however no date was given for this intended application.
We believed this to be unacceptable in terms of addressing the incident and the overall ongoing problems. Therefore before Christmas we sent a 2nd letter of concern again to the Road Safety Officer at WCC and copied into all the previous recipients.
This 2nd letter went into detail regarding numerous issues including the unsuitability of the location of the existing pedestrian crossing for the primary school children attending GETNS and the Gaelscoil, the non compliant existing signage and the parking of vehicles along the cycle lanes. We also proposed options that we believed would improve the existing situation such as relocating the crossing past the Lidl entrance but before the school access road. Wicklow County Council responded to this letter by confirming that they would address the parking issues around the school access road and review the existing signage though again no dates were provided for these works.
While this represents some progress, the issue of the crossing location and other items have still not been addressed. Therefore, we have requested a meeting with the Wicklow County Council Road Safety Officer, the District Engineer, the local Gardaí, a representative from the Town Council and one of our local TD's.
This request was sent to all concerned on 14th January and to date the only response has been from Simon Harris TD to say that he is supporting our cause and is happy to attend such a meeting. A follow up to this request will sent on Monday if no response is received and be assured that we will continue to push for the improvements that we believe are necessary in order to safeguard our children.
Any improvements to the main road would be the responsibility of Wicklow County Council and we have received confirmation that the school access road is under the ownership of the developer of the lands opposite the schools. We are seeking to engage with this person as soon as practical and investigation the possiblity of creating a set down loop to enable families with older children to drop and go.
We have had funds approved from the BOM for signage improvements but before we invest this money we want to be sure it is spent in accordance with an overall improvement scheme to the benefit of all.
While we are putting pressure on the relevant paties all these improvements/changes will unfortunately take time as there are so many stakeholders involved. Whats most important is that we must also take responsibility to ensure the safety of our children and recognize that not all of the problems we are experiencing are due to bad traffic design and management , but instead problems that we as parents are causing.
Please be mindful of the following practices that are putting our children in serious harm:
- Illeagal parking in the cycle lanes
- Parents and children not crossing at the lights
- Driving too fast
As events progress in our communications with Wicklow COunty Council we will submit further updates.